**Please be sure to read the special note at the end of this post.**
Title: Janie and the Magic Box Christmas
Author: Julia Dweck
Illustrator: Terry Sirrell
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Kite Readers
Number of pages: 15
Recommended age: 3+
Daughter Rating: ★★★★½
Mom Rating: ★★★★½
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from Amazon): Christmas is coming, but the thermometer is rising to 100 degrees. Janie looks at her green yard and fills up with woe. One day ‘till Christmas with no sign of snow! Not a fleck, not a speck, not a white spot around. Each blade of grass sticks straight up from the ground. When a curious freckled-box arrives on Janie’s doorstep, she opens it, releasing a whirlwind of mischievous freckles. Join Janie as she follows the freckles on a wild chase to save Christmas. This rhyming tale is told with humor and heart. It is destined to become a holiday classic for generations to come.
1. What is the story about? This book is about a girl named Janie who wants there to be snow at Christmas, but there is none. She then steps on a box and releases magic freckles that make it snow everywhere.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I liked the pictures and the cover, but I didn’t like that you couldn’t see Janie – only parts of her body like legs and arms. That was frustrating.
3. Who is the main character(s)? Janie is the main character even though you can’t see her. I don’t know how old she is because they don’t say and I can’t see her.
4. What is your favorite part of the book? My favorite part of the book is when the freckles come because they are cute and they do all kinds of crazy things like wrap Janie up like a Christmas present and turn into anything they want.
5. What is your least favorite part of the book? I didn’t like that I couldn’t see Janie.
6. How did the story make you feel? The story made me feel like I wanted it to snow freckle faces in MY house cause it looks like fun.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think both girls and boys 9 years old and younger would like this book. I really, really liked it.
What I liked and disliked about it: Julia Dweck’s whimsical rhyming tale of a magical snowy Christmas was a delight to read with my children. Of note, we read this book a few days ago and there was no snow in rainy Vancouver, but overnight it snowed blanketing trees, streets, and sidewalks in a cold snowy delight. Hmmm… strange coincidence! Maybe there really is magic in this book!
In my correspondence with the author, Ms. Dweck gave me a bit of insight into the origins of the book. Janie and the Magic Box Christmas was originally developed as a personalized book for Frecklebox where you insert any child’s name before “and the Magic Box Christmas”. So, anyone can order the book with their child’s name inserted instead of “Janie” (e.g., Danielle and the Magic Box Christmas). Thus, the illustrations are meant to NOT show faces so that any child see themselves as the main character. The book can still be purchased as a personalized book at Frecklebox.com (they also have lots of other personalized books and gifts for boys and girls too).
Christmas is a magical time of year for many people around the world and in some cases, snow is synonymous with Christmas. In Janie and the Magic Box Christmas we meet Janie near Christmas-time when she is disappointed that there is no snow. But when she steps on a magic box, she inadvertently releases millions of magical freckles that transform the inside and outside of the house into a wintery, Christmasy wonderland. Soon, we see stockings lined up on the hearth, a Christmas tree beautifully decorated, gingerbread men, and of course … SNOW!
I liked the concept of the freckle faces transforming into all kinds of delightful things – they were really adorable. The illustrations were all really great. While my daughter was frustrated by the child not being depicted, we now understand why. Some of the illustrations are really funny like when the sleigh is going down the stairs and when Janie gets wrapped up as a present. The freckle faces are a real winner – we all loved them!
My bottom line: My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderfully written and illustrated book by one of our favorite authors, Julia Dweck. I would highly recommend it for children ages 3 and older as a Christmas picture e-book – so easy to download from Amazon.
*Janie and the Magic Box Christmas was provided to us free-of-charge by the author in exchange for our honest opinion.*
*** ATTENTION: On December 22, 2012, Julia Dweck will be donating the proceeds from the sale of ALL of her books to the Sandy Hook School Fund (United Way). Sounds like the perfect day to pick up a copy of this wonderful children’s Christmas book!! For more information see THIS POST, or head on over to Amazon to purchase a copy of Janie and the Magic Box Christmas or any other Julia Dweck book. ***
About the Author
(From Amazon:) Julia writes children’s stories for digital and traditional publication. Her stories span the spectrum of humor, fantasy, and edutainment in rhyme and in prose. Julia’s background in elementary education affords her the opportunity to be in touch with what children want to read about and what makes them giggle. Julia collaborates with some of the leading artists in the world of children’s literature. Julia is also a designer of educational adjuncts for children’s literature, and has worked with such notable publishing houses as Penguin Young Readers.
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