Why are a lot of holiday stories sad before they are happy? And even at the end, when you know it is alright, they might still be a bit sad? Mr. Hollyberry’s Christmas Gift is that kind of book. As I was reading I was thinking, “I know it will be okay, yet…” Kate Westerlund is a meanie and made me almost cry! Seriously though, she has created some lovely language here about love and friendship. All its mixed up with a bit of special Christmas magic!
Eve Tharlet has created some amazing illustrations as well. They are soft but and have bright, deep colors. There is the perfect amount of details and you can read them as easily as the words. Both her illustrations and the text made me feel its European creator’s influences. While, it is not inaccessible to the American reader, there is a tone to it that you do not always find with a more traditional American author. Places where humor would be interjected is not there and the obvious “we have to make a point” by telling the new girl “let’s be friends” was not there. It just happens, and everything occurs very naturally without being forced.
The name, Mr. Hollyberry, is probably my favorite part of the story (though the cat at the end is a cutie). The story has an almost Christian tone to it. Perhaps more actually it is spiritual. It is accessible to both people of faith and non-religious and would make a great gift for a child, adult or yourself.