“Perhaps the clock hands had become so tired of going in the same direction year after year that they had suddenly begun to go the opposite way instead.”
Confusingly I read this in February or March, so some of the magic was a little lost on me. However it was still an enjoyable read; one I would still recommend at this time of year.
This is a story within a story, as a young Norwegian boy buys an advent calendar that the shopkeeper tells him is magical. When he opens the first door, a piece of paper falls out. This is the first chapter in a magic story about a girl named Elisabet, who chases a toy lamb that came to life in a department store. Along with an angel and a host of other characters they collect along the way, they journey across Europe and back in time to see the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
“Now he was longing to know what the picture under door number three was. Should he open the third door now? All he had to do was stick it back again after wards and pretend he hadn’t done it. But that would be cheating…”
As Joachim follows Elisabet’s story, discovering a new page behind the advent calendar door each day, he begins to make his own story, as he tries to discover whether the little girl in the story is the same Elisabet who disappeared from a department store fifty years earlier.
I think the idea behind this book is to read one chapter each day from the 1st December, just as Joachim does. I must admit, the story of Elisabet’s journey to Bethlehem does get a bit samey after a while, but perhaps that’s because I read several chapters at once, rather than one each day. But the focus of the book does then shift onto Joachim, the mystery of the missing girl, and his efforts to find out what happened to her.
This is a nice story with a feel-good ending, not to mention lovely traditional advent calendar illustrations throughout – if you can’t manage a chapter a day, read it the weekend before Christmas, ideally after all your shopping has been done and all there is to do is curl up under a blanket and read a heart warming Christmas story.