Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Legend of Holly Claus


by Brittney Ryan

Grade 4-7–A letter written in 1878 to Santa Claus by a 10-year-old boy asking not for presents but to know what Santa himself wishes for allows the gent (aka Nicholas, King of Forever) and his wife to realize their greatest dream, the birth of a daughter named Holly. She is, however, cursed by an evil sorcerer, Herrikhan, who surrounds her infant heart with ice and promises to return to collect it one day.

Holly grows up happy but lonely in the Land of the Immortals, and when she becomes a young woman, she takes a daring and possibly deadly trip to Victorian New York City, where she is determined to do good deeds. There she has adventures, brings joy to the hearts of young and old, and manages to foil Herrikhan with the shining purity of her love.

The writing is acceptable, if a little precious, and the descriptions of Nicholas and his household are a pleasure to read, but the whole Herrikhan plot is jarring, inconsistent, and unnecessary; there are more than enough characters and subplots swirling through this novel already without the addition of a leering, black-tongued sorcerer.

The drawings scattered throughout are detailed and a touch old-fashioned, a good match for the sentimental tone of the text. Fans of Alcott, Spyri, and Burnett may enjoy this long and convoluted tale.

–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

By Brittney Ryan.

Illustrated by Laurel Long.