There's a contemporary setting in Luttrell's book. Mrs. Wallace announces that one lucky second grader will make up a Christmas story for the school assembly. The whole class is excited, except Robbie whose speech gets garbled in front of crowds. Of course, Robbie is chosen. His speech might be mixed-up, but his ideas about Christmas are on target. He sees it as a time to be giving, kind, and forgiving; he changes all his friend's perspectives. When Robbie's speech fails him on stage, his friends surround him with tales woven from what he has taught them. 2003, Sleeping Bear Press, Ages 5 to 8.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-When Robbie is chosen to make up a Christmas story and tell it to the whole school at the holiday assembly, the second grader is worried that his nervous speech impediment will embarrass him. However, he attempts to write a story, going to each of his friends and asking them for ideas. In the process, he corrects their materialistic and selfish views of Christmas, which turns out to be helpful at the assembly. The plot is formulaic and the writing is stiff; there is nothing in the text to hold readers' attention. The illustrations have a cartoonlike, quirky charm, but they are not enough to rescue this heavy-handed tale.-E. M. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Redheaded Robbie is a shy but well-liked second-grader who gets so tongue-tied in front of the class that he speaks in nonsense phrases, reproduced in the text in a loopy cursive type font. When Robbie is chosen at random to give a speech in front of the entire school, he asks his three friends for help with his preparations, but instead of receiving help, he ends up offering solid advice to each friend about the true meaning of the Christmas spirit. During Robbie's nightmare speech, when he can only stammer out gibberish, his three friends come up to the stage and tell how Robbie ("a little angel with red hair") helped each of them. Melanson's retro-inspired illustrations use varied perspectives; unusual shades of burgundy, gray, and gold; and funny, round-headed kids that complement the droll humor of the story. Too much lesson, perhaps, but a "flurry Flickmas to all" anyway. (Picture book. 4-7)