The Christmas Ship

The Christmas Ship by Dean Morrissey has some of the most magical illustrations I’ve ever seen.  Rich in saturated color, we always linger over each page.

Sam Thatcher, the village toymaker, works in a run down shop.  It’s Christmas Eve and he’s working to finish all the toys.  Some of the village children, his friends, pay a visit, then scatter when the Mayor shows up to shut down Sam’s shop because he hasn’t made the required repairs.

Heavyhearted, Sam wonders what he’ll do when suddenly his old friend, Father Christmas pays him an unexpected visit.

There’s a storm brewing over the ocean and Father Christmas is running behind.  He asks Sam to make his deliveries for him in Sam’s town.  Surprised, Sam asks how he can do that without a sleigh and reindeer.  Father Christmas assures him that he’ll find a way and then he’s gone.

How does Sam do it?  Well, magic is afoot, and soon Sam’s toys come to life to serve as Elves.  Outside, Sam’s ship rises from the ocean to fly over housetops while Sam and the toys -and a stowaway- deliver the gifts.

Then the mayor’s name came up on the list.  The man who had treated Sam so unkindly that very evening.  Sam’s example of  giving in the true spirit of Christmas isn’t lost on his stowaway helper, or on the mayor, either.

There’s a softening of heart at the end of the book and the final thought is this:  “Once a spirit like that gets out… almost anything can happen.”

So true.  And this is definitely a book that will invite that spirit into your home.  Enjoy!

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