Rives, J.G. 2007. Where Are My Christmas Presents. Illustrated by Dot Young.
When a young boy, Edgar, discovers that there are no presents waiting for him under the Christmas tree, he becomes upset. So Edgar sets out on a journey to find his Christmas presents and in thus doing unknowingly begins his journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. It is a journey from thinking only about one's self to thinking about--and caring--for others. Edgar is not a very nice boy when we first meet him. He's selfish, rude, inconsiderate, blind to the real world--a hurting world, a needy world.
Here is just one of his exchanges:
Edgar went into a nearby hospital. He walked into one room where a little girl was lying in a bed. She was bald. Even though she looked strange, Edgar still had to ask, "Have you seen my Christmas presents?"He has similar conversations with other stereotypically needy and less fortunate people as well--the sick, the poor, the homeless, the orphans, an old person, etc.
"No, I haven't. But I have been sick and haven't been able to get any presents lately."
"No matter," Edgar quipped, "I was talking about MY presents anyway!" He quickly left the room.
I won't go into all the details as to how this Scrooge-of-a-character has a change of heart. But it has a happy ending.
The book is all about the message. The message is a good one--to learn compassion, kindness, generosity--I'm not saying it isn't. But the message is still missing a little something from my perspective--for a book about 'the true meaning of Christmas' there is too much Santa and no Jesus--baby or otherwise. That's just my opinion, and you may think differently.
© Becky Laney of Young Readers