Secrets of a Christmas Box starts out with the family bringing home the Christmas tree and putting up the ornaments. After the family goes to bed, the ornaments wake up and say hello to each other after their almost year-long sleep. They’re all portrayed as “people” with human personalities, and the tree’s tinsel is portrayed as a dog. Shortly after waking up, Larry the Snowman realizes his brother is missing so he looks all over the tree for him. With no sign of the brother, Larry, his girlfriend Debbie and a new toy-soldier take off in search of the missing ornament. The group leaves the Christmas tree to find the box where the ornaments are stored, encountering danger, adventures and challenges on their way.
One of the main problems with Secrets of a Christmas Box is that it is meant to be a children’s book, but is in the format of a full-length novel written at the 7-year-old (ish) level. The characters are one-dimensional and the plot is superficial. When the characters wake up and say hello to each other, it seems as though this is really all that happens. The anticipation of an adorable story kept me reading, but other than that, I didn’t find much to be interested in. Had the book been written as a much shorter children’s/early reader chapter book or even a children’s picture book it would have worked much better.
In reviewing Steven Hornby’s website, I learned that he is heavily involved in the movie industry as an animator. In fact, this book was originally meant to be a screenplay and was then changed into a children’s novel. I think the author would have been better off keeping it as a screenplay because I could see this being made into a cute movie. Nevertheless, this book does appear to have a big fan base, so it may be smart to find out what other readers liked about the story.
For more information, please visit the Secrets of a Christmas Box website.
Jenny is a social worker in her late twenties who lives with her husband and a Jack Russell Terrier in the central Florida area. In her “free” time she loves reading books of all genres. She also reviews books on her book blog TakeMeAway.