Saturday, October 6, 2007

Book Review: The Christmas Angel, by Mary Jean Kelso

The Christmas Angel
By Mary Jean Kelso
Illustrated by K.C. Snider
Guardian Angel Publishing
ISBN: 1933090588
Copyright 2007
Softcover, 32 pages, $9.96
Children’s Picture Book

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

The Christmas Angel is a sweet, heart-warming Christmas story about a little girl who ends up finding friendship in the most unexpected of circumstances. Set during the time of the pioneers, this is a tale that both teaches and entertains.

Eight-year old Melissa must leave her Philadelphia home to travel with her family to the West across the Oregon Trail, a daunting 2,170-mile long journey. Because they will travel by wagon, she is allowed to take with her only her most prized possession. For Melissa, this is an easy choice: the delicate porcelain Christmas angel her father once brought her from England. Carefully and lovingly, she wraps the angel and packs it in a box. Their trip is harsh, as they must walk many miles a day, mostly on foot, cross dangerous creeks, and camp overnight in wild, Indian territory. Melissa constantly worries that something will harm her precious angel. Then one day, her worst nightmare comes true—her angel is lost. Luckily, the most unexpected person brings it back to her.

This is a lovely book about friendship between two very different people from opposite cultures. It is also a tale about hope and the magic of Christmas. Children will delight in the colorful illustrations as they learn about the Oregon Trail and the pioneers, their hardships and dreams of a better life. At the end of the book there’s a section with activities and information about the pilgrims, as well as a game and a map.

The Christmas Angel will make a lovely Christmas gift to any child as well as an excellent tool for teachers to teach this era of American history.