The Christmas Stick by Tim J. Myers (illustrated by Necdet Yilmaz) is a ‘Christmas’ story, but it isn’t a peculiarly ‘Christian’ story. Any child and family that enjoys this season will be able to latch onto the books central themes. It is a tale which illustrates the joy of giving and the power of imagination. Here is a synopsis (spoiler alert):
There once was a spoiled young prince who opened his many magnificent presents one Christmas without an ounce of gratitude. He is not one bit grateful and is complaining when his grandmother limps in and gives him a stick. The stick is as long as he is tall and sturdy, but is just a stick. So the prince puts the stick in the corner and plays with his other toys until they break or bore him.
Then one day a visiting cousin picks up the stick and pretends it is a broadsword. From that moment on the prince takes up the stick and wields it imaginatively as a sword, a lance, a flag pole, q shepherd’s crook, a paddle, a club, a bow, a trumpet, a snake, etc. He swung from it between the battlements and beat off ogres.
Somehow the stick changed him. When the next Christmas rolled around, the price opened presents with sincere gratitude. He also gave presents to his parents for the first time. And he gives his grandmother a stick as long as she is tall and sturdy. It had a wrist loop on one end and a metal tip on the other. The perfect gift for a hobbling old woman so she can get around better.
This is a simple story that all three of my kids enjoyed. It speaks of the power of giving, gratitude and imagination. Kind of a fun little picture book. They liked words and pictures. My daughter’s one objection is that the stick the prince gives to his grandmother, is not pictured as long as his grandmother is tall, as the words suggest. But generally the illustrations complimented the words well. The limping grandmother, may have given up her cane to her spoiled grandson. This is never spelled out in the story, but certainly the arc of the story suggests it (this will be lost on most children but says something about ‘self sacrificial giving).
This is a short picture book. I give it four stars and recommend it as an edition to your kid’s Christmas book collection.
Notice of material connection: I received this book from the publisher for the purposes of this review.