When I was a child, Christmas picture books had a very special place in our celebrations. Every Christmas Eve, my dad would settle down with us and read “The Night Before Christmas” from a tiny square book, that was his when he was a boy. Despite the size of the book, the illustrations were truly magical and it was a Christmas tradition that my brother and I would look forward to. Books also held a special place in our gift list. Every Christmas we would receive a new hardcover book, my mother would preserve the dust cover by wrapping it in plastic and sign the book with a loving message. To this day, I treasure hard backed children’s books. When I enter a children’s book shop, it still feels as though I am entering Aladdin’s cave and I’m compelled to cradle a new book like a baby.
The Book of Kringle could easily ignite a similar magic and love of books for young children. I could imagine its reading becoming a Christmas tradition in many families. I have only viewed a digital copy of the book, but other reviewers have praised the look and feel of the physical book, especially its resemblance to an old leather-bound document. This would make it a very special gift that could be enjoyed by all the family. Perhaps if you have a visiting elf, he could leave it as a gift to explain the history of the elves.
The story is simple and charming, written in the style of an old fairytale. The Book of Kringle tells of the days when the North Pole was ruled by a greedy king who didn’t allow elves to have fun. The king’s friendly brother spreads kindness amongst the elves and the story of Santa unfolds. I liked the traditional tone but sometimes I felt the language didn’t flow. That may have been because it was more difficult to follow in the digital format and it loses some of its magic without a physical book to hold.
The real magic though, lies in the illustrations. The soft watercolour illustrations are stunning, full of detail and fit beautifully with the traditional feel of the book. They transport me back to my childhood treasures, illustrated by the likes of Arthur Rackham, Mabel Lucy Atwell and Kate Greenaway. A pre-reader could happily spend hours pouring over the illustrations and the longer text would keep older children entertained.
If you visit the Book of Kringle website, you can watch Santa himself talk about the book and how the legend was discovered after all these years. It will hopefully give you a taste of this visual delight. The Book of Kringle retails on Amazon at $19.99