Christmas Wish
J. Gribbin Hutchinson


Reading Level: Children & Adults

A little stocking-stuffer of a book about a boy coming to terms with his father's death. David Connor's father, screwdriver in hand, dies abruptly before dawn on Christmas morning while assembling David's new bike. David trashes the shiny green bike, his belief in Santa Claus, and his six-year-old's love of Christmas in the fury of his grief. It takes ten years, the steady presence of Mr. Paul--an elderly neighbor who is a surrogate grandfather for David--his mother's remarriage, the birth of a half-brother, and several secret visits from David's departed dad (who is grayer, fatter, and fuzzier each time he materializes, until by book's end he bears a startling resemblance to the defrocked Saint Nick) for David to transcend his anger, grief, and fear of being disloyal to his father's memory. In a debut that seems aimed at the silver screen, or at least toward an annual December showing on television, Hutchinson never milks the sentiment inherent in the plot; the writing is crisp and matter-of-fact, and he has created some truly endearing characters, particularly Mr. Paul, whose boyhood encounter with Teddy Roosevelt was the defining moment of his life. Written as a reminiscence, the book has more appeal for adults than for children--not exactly The Christmas Box audience, but those who enjoy miracle stories with more literary value and fewer tearstains.


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