Wednesday, December 17, 2008

59. A Season for Miracles

The title: A Season for Miracles: Twelve Tales of Christmas
The author: Jean Little et al.
Publication: Scholastic, 2006
Got it from: The library

Remember Susanna Merritt? Of course you do. She is the heroine of one of the Dear Canada series. (Americans have a similar "Dear America" series.) This book is a compilation of short stories focusing on the heroines of each novel in the series at Christmastime.

Just down the street from where I live, there is a statue of William Hamilton Merritt, Susanna's brother.

For some reason, I have had the urge to climb up on the statue and put a Santa hat on his head. Also, the library where I work is named after him and we have a big picture of him by our book drop. But alas, my request to draw a Santa hat on his head was denied by my boss. Sigh.

I have only read a handful of books in this series. People going to this book with no previous knowledge of the characters may be confused by the names of all the family and friends who we have little time to get to know before moving on to the next story. Those who have read the series will surely love revisiting familiar characters.

There is lots of Christmas spirit here. Many of the stories tell of harsh pioneer Christmases and poverty, bratty brothers and overbearing relatives. Everything always works out in the end, of course. In "An Unexpected Gift," by Gillian Chan, Mei-Ling describes the discrimination she faces as a Chinese girl in a predominantly white, rich society. She finds an ally in a neighbour's son and experiences her first true Canadian Christmas. Another interesting story was one told by Angelique Richard, an Acadian girl banished from Grand Pre (sorry, my accents aren't working) and living in Baltimore, who manages to warm a curmudgeon's heart so that he gives her father the woodworking tools he desperately needs. My favourite by far was that of Kate Cameron, a girl living in 1883 British Columbia, who accidentally stirs her grandmother's ring into the Christmas pudding.

Of course you'll enjoy these stories more if you're familiar with Canada and/or have read the series already. Even if you haven't, they're still entertaining. B+

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