“The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles. Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see, and this holiday story features any number of miracles, depending on your point of view.” Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal
Irreverent works for kids (and lots of adults too), and few do irreverent better than Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Handler. Lots of saccharine kiddie stories float through my hands this time of year. Parents love them, claiming them to be their favorites from their own childhood, or, if a newer story, believing that a shared extra sappy indulgence will somehow solidify their attempts at the ideal family Christmas. Kids don’t care that much. There is a reason the Grinch is a perennial favorite. After years of reading to young children, I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty that many an eye will glaze over at a reading of The Night Before Christmas but the kids will cheer on the cruelty to animals routine of the Grinch tying antlers on to Max’s head every time. That is just the way kids roll (as they would phrase it themselves).
That being said, this hilarious little book about a lump of coal thinking, talking, and moving about looking for a holiday miracle may be a bit much for the smallest among us. I would recommend it to the 9-12 year old set or if you know an especially sophisticated reader who enjoyed The Series of Unfortunate Events series. Take a peek through on the Harper Collins dedicated page and make the call yourself. If you are like me, you may decide on an adult or two that might enjoy this holiday treasure themselves. In the spirit of the holidays, remember - “Miracles can happen, even to those who are small, flammable, and dressed in all black.”