Sometimes holiday celebration can be hard to achieve. Cooper's Danny and the Kings features a young boy who wishes to bring Christmas magic alive for his young brother. Magic comes in a strange and yet believable way. Danny manages to briefly suspend the poverty of life in the trailer of a single parent family. Danny's story provides a wonderful model of giving for children.
After Steve punches Danny in the nose over whether the kings were more important than the shepherds in the Christmas play, their teacher settles the issue calmly, saying, "My old granny even used to say that those Three Kings are still traveling the world, carrying presents." Feeling guilty for the punch, Steve gives Danny, whose mother can't afford a Christmas tree, a little tree from Steve's yard. Unfortunately, the tree is smashed by a truck while Danny is dragging it across the highway. Though they give Danny a ride home and take his family to school for the play, the truck driver and his two friends can't stay for the performance. When Danny, his mother, and brother return home, a lovely tree awaits them. In spite of the predictability of the plot, the genuine warmth of the season glows through the smooth text. Snowy winter scenes and indoor views in lovely watercolor paintings enhance the story's emotional feeling. Although Cooper's prose does not equal her compelling novels for middle and older readers, such as "The Boggart" , this gentle holiday story wears well.