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Wenceslas: The Eternal Christmas Story

by Geraldine McCaughrean
32 pages, Picture Book
Reviewed by Kristi

A beautiful and uplifting tale, gloriously retold and lavishly illustrated.

Plot

Young Peter, a noble page at the court of King Wenceslas of Bohemia, is looking forward to an evening of holiday merriment in the warm castle, when his master looks out to see a poor man walking in the blizzard. The King and Peter set forth to deliver food and drink to the peasant and his family, but Peter soon finds himself unable to continue the journey through the bleak night, until Wenceslas tells the page to follow where he has stepped. Walking in his master's footsteps, Peter finds the strength to continue to the peasant's home, where he and the king bless the family with their gifts and share their Christmas.

Morality

This is a beautifully moral story about blessing others.

Spiritual Content

There is a mention that magic will be performed during the Christmas festivities at the castle. The concept of following in the master's footsteps can easily be applied to following in the footsteps of Our Lord. The original song "Good King Wenceslas" is included in whole at the end of the tale, and it relates a miracle in which the king's footsteps actually warm the ground where the page follows. At the very end of the tale there is a brief historical note about the real Duke Wenceslas of Bohemia, a beloved Christian ruler.

Violence

None.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Barrels of beer are mentioned during the castle festivities. Brandy is among the gifts brought to the poor family.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

This is a beautiful story, sweet and touching and spiritually uplifting. The illustrations, provided by Christian Birmingham, are lavish and lit with an almost heavenly glow. I strongly recommend this book for lovers of Christmas of all ages.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 5-7

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