This is a great read aloud. In the beginning of the novel, each chapter stands on its own almost as a story itself. The stories are funny and poignant. The descriptions are terrific:
Teddy was wild in church, wild in school, and especially wild during the holidays. After Christmas, while Josh was still at Good Sam, Teddy started hiding people's presents and unscrewing lights on the tree. He took gobs of tinsel off and made little bird nests that he stuck back onto the tree. One day while Mom and Dad were shopping, Teddy stole baby Jesus from the manger and laughed when no one could find it. See what I'm saying? He stole Jesus and thought it was funny.
I also thought the beginning chapters were choppy. The first has Grandma as a significant character and then it shifts to a sibling and Grandma disappears. The change was abrupt. I think it would have helped if there had been something linking the chapters together in the beginning. Fletcher does tie the baking of stollen or bread to the end of the story but I think some overall theme was needed throughout. The book reminds me of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, but in that story the main character wants to be a scientist and it weaves a thread throughout all the chapters tying it together. Maybe if it had something like that? I'm no expert. What do you think?
There is a death in the story that makes it sad but it is balanced with humor and ways of dealing with grief. Terrific book.
Reading Level 4.9
:-) :-) :-) :-) 4 out of 5 Smileys