Book Review: Don't Call Me Christina Kringle by Chris Grabenstein

Don't Call Me Christina Kringle by Chris Grabenstein is a children's chapter book. Ten-year-old Christina Lucci does not like Christmas. She has a good reason, her mother died during her Christmas Day birth, and just last year her firefighter father died on the job. While her father had always loved Christmas, and her grandfather still does, she just cannot get into the holiday spirit.  For Christina, no Christmas will ever be merry again. This year her grandfather’s shoe repair shop is failing and bills keep piling up. The bank is ready to seize the shop. What Christina needs is a Christmas miracle which just might come in the form of brownies. I'm not talking dessert here, but rather the helpful little creatures that feel the need to finish takes people leave undone. Christina and the brownies help each other in a number of unexpected ways, and their friendship might just turn Christina’s whole life around—and maybe even get her back in the Christmas spirit.

The book description does not do Don't Call Me Christina Kringle justice. Christina is a smart, loyal girl that has faced more tragedy in her young life than some adults. However, her and her grandfather still manage to keep moving forward and living life. I really liked bother characters, they were solid but fun. The brownies face their own trials, all tied up with a greedy man that imports them and sells them to shop owners for slave labor. The two storyline come together perfectly and offer adventure, mystery, and some serious fun. There are great messages about hope, greed, and the wonder of giving through out the story. The story offers a solid resolution, but leaves a little room open for a sequel featuring either Christina or brownies.

I really enjoyed Don't Call Me Christina Kringle and would recommend it to readers around nine and older. There are great messages in the story, which do not feel forced like can happen in some stories. There is magic, adventure, a bit of mystery and danger, as well as a wonderful happy ending.

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