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*The Christmas Tree Fairy* by Marion Rose, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

The Christmas Tree Fairy
by Marion Rose, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft
ages 4-8 32 pages Bloomsbury October 2005 Hardcover    

On Christmas Eve Meredith steals one more glance at the decorated tree. She’s doing her best to look like the fairy topping the tree, in a gauzy dress and old battered dress-up wings. Her wish is impossible, even on Christmas-- a wish for real magic, for wings that work.

And then Meredith hears a cry from the Christmas Tree Fairy. What follows is an enchanted night. The Christmas Tree Fairy is a tale of the magic, big and small, that gets scoffed at any other month of the year. Meredith braves the dangerous world of the tree to help her fairy friend with a kindness that’s as much a part of holiday magic as anything the fairy can whip up. And, of course, her story ends the better for it.

It’s a fine moral, and writer Marion Rose delivers it without pedantry or cliché. Instead Meredith’s tale is told with a child’s unquestioning faith in magic. Jason Cockcroft’s illustrations enhance that spell. His Christmas Tree world is colored by the shifting colored lights of the tree and the floating, sparkling colors of the fairy’s wand. This mixed light is both realistic and dreamlike, lending reality to all the strange personages Meredith meets on her way to the fairy. The effect is an enchanted world that invites belief from even the most stubbornly mature and realistic hearts.

Like the Christmas Tree Fairy’s spells, that magic is over all too soon. But young and old readers who want to revisit the fairy can do it with the flip of a page. The story is as lovely as the lesson it holds, and a perfect addition to the magic of Christmastime.  

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  Sarah Meador/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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