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The illustrations are vibrant in color and skillfully done. I liked how realistic they were and some almost appear dimensional. A good story is important (and this is one!) but illustrations can make or break a book where children are concerned.
A young boy named Sam is excited about Christmas, like any other child during the holiday. But this is where the similarity with many other Christmas story ends. The focus is not on “Santa”, or what gifts Sam is going to get. The story centers on caring, doing for others in need, and Jesus.
Sam’s mother puts a beautiful silver box on the mantle. All she will tell him is that it is a special gift called a Sparkle Box. She explains that it must first be filled before it can be opened. Each time he asks, he is told they must put more things in it. Throughout the book, the family is shown giving to those less fortunate. What amazed me was that Sam as a youngster noticed where people were lacking. This is such a great example for children reading the book, as most are about,”me, me, me.”
Christmas morning they open the Sparkle Box. In it are slips of paper and written on each one are the acts of benevolence their family has had been undertaking throughout the holiday. His mother explains that they are their gifts to Jesus in honor of His birthday. Sam was confused as they had given the gifts to people, not Jesus. His mother explains that when we give to others we are giving to Him.
There were so many things I liked about this book. First, Christmas was being celebrated with all the decorations and special traditions, but that was not the emphasis. The focal point was Christ and the less fortunate.
It is quite the opposite nowadays as else is highlighted by all the worldly activities and Jesus is pushed aside. I also liked the fact that Santa wasn’t mentioned once. His image as grown to such proportions that he takes the place of Christ. Not only in celebrating Christmas but sadly in the hearts of children. Little ones love to give and this book introduces them to the idea of how to give gifts to Jesus by helping the needy.