The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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The Christmas Potato Review by Susan K. MarlowBy Paula Schlegel
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
What does a potato have to do with Christmas? The title of The Christmas Potato captured my interest enough that I wanted to explore the answer to that question. On the very first page, the reader meets Charlie, a spunky eleven-year-old who is looking forward to his Christmas vacation. Freedom! Fun! Maybe he'll even play a video game or two. Charlie's dreams of a fun-filled vacation are quickly dashed, however, when Mom informs him that he has chores to do to help get the house ready for Christmas visitors. In the midst of Charlie's griping and complaining over this intrusion into his holiday plans, he is warned that "Santa is watching." Charlie scoffs at such an absurd idea until he ventures downstairs into the potato storage and comes face to face with a tiny man who just might be one of Santa's helpers. How much has the elf heard of Charlie's complaining? Charlie quickly mends his ways, but all he can think of during the next few days is the little man in the potato bin and the fact that a lump of coal may be coming his way! On Christmas morning, when Charlie finds a potato in his stocking (along with all kinds of goodies), he realizes that the little man really was one of Santa's helpers.
Paula Schlegel tells a cute story in this well-written, 30-page, 4"x6" soft-cover book. Each two-page spread includes a black-and-white line drawing, which would be great for kids to color as they read the story. Parents who include the idea of Santa Claus in their Christmas celebrations will probably find this story unique and magical. On the other hand, families who strive to keep Christ as the center of Christmas may find that A Christmas Potato is very light on the message of Jesus. There is a reference to God and Santa being great friends, and the elf is wearing a sweater with the words "Happy Birthday, Jesus." However, the basic premise of the story is that Santa--and not God--is watching kids' behavior.
One nice thing about authors and books these days is the connection readers can make. This is true for the author of The Christmas Potato. Readers can connect with Paula Schlegel on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Christmas-Potato/115004548561758.
Product review by Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2011