Snicket, Lemony. 2008. The Lump of Coal.
This is actually my first Lemony Snicket book. This is a short little book, a holiday book at that. The illustrations are by Brett Helquist. The star of this one is a lump of coal that can walk and talk, and so forth. (You can actually read the story in its entirety here. As it appeared in USA Weekend back in 2004.)
Here's how it starts off,
The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles. Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you'd see, and this holiday story features any number of miracles, depending on your point of view.
The story begins with a lump of coal, who for the sake of argument could think, talk, and move itself around. Like many people who dress in black, the lump of coal was interested in becoming an artist. The lump of coal dreamed of a miracle--that one day it would get to draw rough, black lines on a canvas, or more likely, on a breast of chicken or salmon filet by participating in a barbeque.
As I mentioned, it's a short story. It won't take you long to read at all. It's enjoyable enough. I don't know that it's particularly outstanding, but for fans of Snicket and Helquist, it might make a nice gift.
© Becky Laney of Young Readers