Learn what happens when a 12-year-old cooks her first Christmas turkey, how one family celebrates Christmas two ways, and what happens when a girl rides catches the train for a very special Christmas present. This is just a small peek into the treasures that are in this anthology. Filled with stories, poems, and occasional illustrations this book has something for everyone.
And not all of these stories take place in modern times or under unusual circumstances. Set in both past and present, these stories are full of magic, both real and imagined. My favorite story, Liranels Gift was set in Medieval times, in a town where blessings are bestowed by Song (magic through singing). Although that one was by far my favorite, I would have to say The Clauses go to Hollywood was a close tie. After all, who wouldnt want to see Santa Claus as a real movie star?
Recommended for ages 12 and up, although readers of all ages will enjoy reading (or hearing) this wonderful collection.
"Mistletoe Madness" is an eclectic collection of Christmas stories and poems written by a variety authors, none of whom are widely known. Many of the works have similar themes; there are several pieces about lack of snow in warm climates ("Winter Wonderland" in the best of that bunch) and countless stories about giving to a less fortunate friend or neighbor (these are mostly trite or didactic, with a few exceptions, most notably "Leader of the Band" and the futuristic "The Good Old Days").
When authors chose to deviate from these well-used themes, they met with mixed results. "The Purple Christmas Ball with the Silver Tassel" gets points for originality, but flounders in extreme goofiness and poor writing. "The Stalking Snowman" (title self-explanatory) reads like a bad '80s movie, and "Lost!" (about a boy and his dog lost in a blizzard, is just too much plot for a 15 page story. On the other hand, "First Turkey," about a girl who prepares Christmas dinner while her mom is away in the army, is a fun read, and that goes double for the amusing "The Clauses Go Hollywood." One of the longest stories, "Liranel's Gift," an interesting fantasy about a lame girl with the gift of Song, is also enjoyable.
On the whole, the anthology is uneven-- there's some very good stories, a lot of pretty average ones, and a few that are downright awful. Still, with 42 pieces featured (mostly stories), every reader is bound to find something they like. The cover is adorable and there are some really good illustrations.
The best stories in the book are: "First Turkey," "The Remarkable Christmas Package," "Carving Out a Christmas," "Liranel's Gift," and "The Clauses Go Hollywood."