Written by J. D. Thomas, with delightful illustrations by Hannah Maryse Robinson, The Fight Before Christmas is a playful children’s holiday story.
Thomas describes a scenario in which Christmas ornaments come alive in the nights before the holiday. Beth, a young child who attempts to decorate the tree on her own, appears sad about the impending celebration, but the ornaments, save the day by eventually working together to turn a potentially drab Christmas into a lively holiday.
Thomas does her best writing when capturing the individual characters of the ornaments. For example, the “six pretty, glass angels chatter[ing] in French” will amuse both child and adults alike, as will the power struggle between two headstrong fairy ornaments, Edwina and her Spanish rival, Consuela. Thomas’ work also illuminates important lessons for young readers, who will take note of the behavior and compassion the ornaments demonstrate when faced with adversity.
Additionally, artist Robinson excels at bringing these ornaments to life. Her color palette is lively and inventive, and her illustrations will delight young readers while drawing them into the text.
One wishes that the book included more illustrations. The work book is divided into chapters, and some pages—including a few two-page spreads—are entirely composed of text. This will be daunting to children just learning to read. (If the author intended this to be a children’s chapter book, rather than a picture book, the picture-book format is likely to draw the wrong readers.)
Also problematic is the author’s treatment of her human characters, who appear relatively flat. For example, Beth is consistently presented as depressed, and while the author hints that this sadness stems from the absence of Beth’s father, readers are largely left guessing.
Despite such drawbacks, Thomas and Robinson have created a largely enjoyable picture book. Addressing the issues mentioned above, however, would enhance its appeal.