Before I read Frankenstein Meets Santa I was not sure how elves talk with each other, but now I know.
One of my favorite sparks of imagination is naming all the elves who work in a certain part of the North Pole after candies: Gum, Jawbreaker, Taffy, Ginger, Candy Apple. What candy would you be? I would be either an after dinner mint or an M&M.
Those glimmers of fun are trivial in comparison to the real import of this engrossing, delightful book – as enjoyable to me, Granna, as it will be to my grandchildren.
The Christmas story is told not as a sterile “Bible story” but as a reminder to feed the poor, heal the sick, and view the stranger with compassion and hope, patiently finding a use for each person, no matter how oddly made, in this frustrating world. The characters are, as Santa says, “Christmas makers,” and shouldn’t we all be that?
Since I read the book the first time, hundreds of thousands of people stereotyped as “monsters,” as unfit for our hearths, as burdens and dangers to us, toiling and dying as they flee a cauldron as misbegotten as Frankenstein himself, have been traversing northward. Like Frankenstein these migrants welcome their suffering and shivering because their efforts in the end may yield a good job and a loving community for themselves and their children.
It is a risk to have these travelers in our midst, but eventually they will find their place and, like Frankenstein, might give back more than they received. It was as difficult for the elves to welcome this big galumph (and the book does not whitewash the risks and discomfort) as it is for us to welcome the migrants of today.
May we all be blessed with the patience and skill of Mrs. Claus, the wisdom and stamina of her husband, the diligence of the elves, the blessings of remembrance both of the Christmas story and of our own suffering, and may we, like the elves, find the time and enough love in our hearts to welcome the foreigner, the unbeliever, the lonely stranger half crazy from grief, and turn him into a valued member of our communities.
This book should be a classic, but it just came out. I hope it will find its way into many a gift wrap this Christmas, and Mommy and Daddy could use a copy too.Tags: book reviews