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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Christmas Mystery (The)
by Jostein Gaarder
Age Range: 9-11
While Christmas shopping with his dad Joachim finds a very old Advent Calendar
that has been left in a bookshop by a mysterious flower-seller. When Joachim gets
home, he realises that behind each of the twenty-four tiny doors, small pieces of
paper have been hidden. Slowly, Joachim begins to uncover the story of a young
girl, Elisabet Hansen, who disappeared from her home fifty years earlier and who
travelled back through time across Europe to Palestine to find the Holy Family in
Bethlehem. This book brings a contemporary twist to the traditional Christmas tale
with its narration of two parallel stories – set fifty years apart. It is through Joachim
and the magic Advent calendar that the two stories are allowed to eventually meet.
The author skilfully captures the essence and mystery of Christmas bringing a freshness and sense of wonder in this extraordinary story that will be popular with both children and adults. This is a new abridged version with appealing illustrations by Sarah Gibb.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)