If The Polar Express, The Nutcracker and every Christmas story where the child wishes for ‘the best Christmas ever” made a book-baby, The Broken Ornament would be it.
Jack wants this to be the best Christmas ever. Bigger is better! More is better! A bigger tree! More lights! More cookies! More presents! And more ornaments! But when Jack finds one last, old dusty ornament (that his mother tells him not to put on the tree) is broken, Jack is not sure why his mother is upset. It is just a “junky old ornament” and they can always get more. Because of this, now it just might be the worse Christmas ever. That “old thing” was a very special family heirloom. But with a little magic, from a new friend Jack learns the true meaning of Christmas and how to make some extra special Christmas magic of his own.
While there is not a train or a prince fighting a mice king, those feelings are alluded to here. There is magic (how Jack learns how very special that ornament was). There is mystery and there is a way of truly making it the best Christmas ever. Having my own great-grandmothers Christmas ornament, I understand how that “old dusty ornament” is not the best thing to look at, but know how truly special the memories behind it are.
And of course, Tony Diterlizzi’s classical style is right there the illustrations. Bright, quirky colors. Fantastic details and a unique modern feel, with hints of the classic.