In 1958, Tess McAlister has a rite of passage approaching: To continue to believe in Santa or not. Meanwhile, her best friend Sarah is dealing with a looming loss–the approaching death of her very ill father. The girls live out in the country in farming town called Hopewell and enjoy the same sorts of things all girls their age love, but especially watching Tess’s big sister Evvie and her friend Maggie do “eleven year old stuff.”
As Sarah’s father’s condition worsens, the school Christmas pageant comes and goes, and finally–finally! it is Christmas Eve. Tess and her dog Sadie get the chance to see the real Santa. A discussion ensues in which Sarah questions the limits of Santa’s ability to grant wishes.
This is a sweet book–no spoilers but nothing for parents to worry about. Christian parents will be reassured that Santa has acknowledged limits to his wish-granting powers. It was also nice to read that the girls attended church. Kids today will be surprised to learn that children couldn’t visit parents in the hospital back in 1958. They may giggle at the thought of $4.00 being ample for Sarah’s Christmas shopping, too.
Appropriate for early to middle Elementary School aged children. Vocabulary is typical of middle grades Chapter books.
On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin