Secrets of a Christmas Box

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Have You Ever wondered . . .

Why every year, pine needles from the Christmas tree find their way into rooms no one has been in?

Or why, at least one of your favorite...
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Have You Ever wondered . . .

Why every year, pine needles from the Christmas tree find their way into rooms no one has been in?

Or why, at least one of your favorite tree ornaments is found broken no matter how carefully they were packed away the year before?

And who is it that rips the small holes in the wrapped presents under the tree?

Enter the magical festive world of the Christmas 'Tree-Dwellers', as Larry, a Christmas snowman, wakes up after the long sleep in the Christmas box, to find his brother is missing.

Desperate to find him before Christmas, Larry, along with his girlfriend Debbie, a newcomer Splint, and Larry's companion Tinsel, break the laws of the 'Tree-Elders' and escape down the tree and away into the house, to look for clues.

Away from the safety of the tree and in an unfamiliar world, the Dwellers stumble upon a dark and sinister secret that threatens their entire world.

Can Larry and the group make it back to the tree in time to warn the others, and finally uncover the truth behind the 'Secrets Of A Christmas Box'?
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-5–Each Christmas season, while the Fergusons sleep, the ornaments on their tree magically come to life. When Larry the snowman discovers that his brother Terrence didn’t arrive on the tree this year, he and his fellow ornaments set out to find him. However, leaving the tree is against the laws of the Elders and puts the search team in danger of facing the wrath of Tree-Lord, an immobile, pinecone-shaped light. Their journey is beset by dangers and infighting, but they persevere, eventually discovering Tree-Lord’s dastardly secret and battling his squadron of Army-Lights. Illustrations enliven the characters, but the writing lacks polish. There is far too much exposition of things that readers should be able to infer from the action. Awkward and incomplete sentences, unorthodox use of language (“freaked” as a verb in lieu of shouted), and poor pacing detract from what might have been a good story.–Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981588308
  • Publisher: Ecky Thump Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 248
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Gentle Children's Adventure

    It's Christmas and the tree is up and decorated. But once the family goes to sleep, something magical happens. The ornaments all wake up and welcome each other after a year sleeping in the Christmas Box. They promenade around the tree, greeting old friends and welcoming new ones.

    Larry the Snowman and his girlfriend, Debbie, a reindeer, are two of the mainstays in the ornament family. This year, a wooden toy soldier named Splint is a newcomer, talking to Larry and Debbie to determine the rules of this new world.

    But Larry is worried. He can't find his brother anywhere. Not content to just accept that he hasn't made it this year, Larry is eager to do anything to find him. Being new and less tied to the Christmas tree traditions, Splint proposes that they leave the tree, find the Christmas Box and see if his brother got overlooked.

    Thus begins a grand adventure. Children will thrill at the excitement and dangers the three overcome as they set off on their grand adventure. This book is recommended for families with children and can become another holiday tradition, as children may want to hear the story over and over. Hornby has created a unique world and one that those full of the magic of Christmas may eagerly inhabit.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    Christmas tale is perfect for families at the holidays

    Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby is a perfect read aloud story for families. The tree-dwellers wake up each year after being placed on the Christmas tree and circle the branches looking for old friends and meeting new ones. Larry the snowman and Debbie the reindeer girl are thrilled to see each other again but devastated to find that Larry's brother is missing. Along with newcomer Splint, a wooden soldier, they break the rules of the Elder and leave the tree to find their sleeping place, the Christmas Box, in hopes of discovering a clue. The story begins as a charming imaginative tale about what happens on the Christmas tree when everyone has gone to sleep, but transforms into a gripping thriller, still appropriate for children, about the meaning of friendship. There are a few slightly scary spots, making this appropriate for ages 6 and up, but the story is compelling and kids will love the idea that their tree comes to life each night.

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  • Posted November 20, 2009

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    A new Christmas classic - for children and adults alike!

    When I read that Steven Hornby had initially planned "Secrets of a Christmas Box" as a screenplay, it made perfect sense. It would make a wonderful seasonal film, and as it reads it can surely become a Christmas classic. There is just the right amount of make-believe and adventure with Larry, Debbie, Tinsel and Splint. Secrets of a Christmas Box is a story of love, friendship, family, loyalty and courage. It is sure to be loved by children and grown ups alike.

    Publisher: Ecky Thump Books, Inc; 1st edition (September 1, 2009), 248 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2009

    Cute holiday story

    It's Christmas Eve, and the family has pulled out the Christmas Box to decorate the tree. They string the lights and strategically place their ornaments on the branches, before celebrating the magical evening. But what happens once they turn in for the night?

    As the family sleeps, awaiting Santa's arrival, the tree-dwellers come awake and have their own celebration. After a year in the Christmas Box, they're eager to enjoy each other's company and snack on pine needles. But not all tree-dwellers rejoin the tree every year, which leads Larry, Debbie, Tinsel, and newcomer, Splint, on a journey to find the Christmas Box for some answers.

    Not all is well in the land of tree-dwellers, and there is malice among the revelry. Will this brave foursome find out what's going on, and will they make it back to the tree in time to join the others for the big sleep?

    Secrets of a Christmas Box is a fun holiday tale, with romance, intrigue, friendship and adventure. Although there are some sad moments, all ends well as the tree-dwellers finally find safety. Reading this unique Christmas story every year may well become a new family tradition.

    Reviewer: Alice Berger

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

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    The Secret is Out

    This is a very enjoyable story of a group of ornaments, the tree dwellers, who secretly come to life each Christmas when removed from the Christmas Box and placed on the tree. The main characters are Larry, a lovable snowman, Debbie, his beautiful reindeer girlfriend, and Splint, the new ornament, who is a wooden toy soldier. The characters are quite charming and the reader is quickly drawn into the search for Larry's brother who is missing from the tree. The search leads the main characters away from the safety of the Christmas tree, through the unfamiliar house, and ultimately back to the Christmas Box looking for answers. This is a very engaging story and will no doubt be a Christmas staple for years to come.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    Holiday Magic

    This magical book takes us on a journey with the Tree Dwellers Larry, the glass snowman, Debbie his part reindeer girlfriend and Splint the soldier and new guy on the tree. Larry finds that his brother is missing when the tree dwellers awake from their long sleep in the box. Although all the tree dwellers know that sometimes an ornament doesn't make it back to the tree the next year, Larry just cannot accept his brothers is lost forever. He has to come up with a way to find him.

    "Splint looked back over at Santa and could not help but stare in amazement at the magical man in his big red coat."

    This book is a flawlessly executed piece of imagination. The 'tree dwellers' are a wondrous group of Christmas decorations that come to life while we humans are not looking. Hornby did a fantastic job of making each character "come to life" with the magic of his artistry. After reading this book Larry, Debbie and Splint will become Christmas icons, just like Frosty and Rudolph. The story is a modern and exciting twist on the classic Christmas story but it is also heartfelt and full of emotion, at the same time. I highly recomend this story for you and your family.

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  • Posted September 18, 2009

    Looking forward to rereading with my 9 year old this Christmas!

    This middle-grade novel creates a world inhabited by the Christmas tree ornaments and lights in one suburban family's collection, and the story opens with Larry, a glass snowman ornament, along with his girlfriend Debbie and a new-to-the-collection toy soldier dubbed Splint, searching for one of their own who seems 'not to have made it back' to the tree this year. They make the fateful decision to break the ultimate rule for the Tree-Dwellers, leaving the tree itself, in an effort to search out the Christmas Box where they are stored every year. Along the way, they find danger, adventure and challenges galore. The tone and pace of the action are just the right fit for an older elementary school audience, and Hornby paints a whimsical world in what has become a staple of every holiday season for so many children.

    With suspenseful and surprising moments, Secrets of a Christmas Box makes for a great read during the holidays, and I personally look forward to sharing this story with my own nine year old this winter, as I imagine it is best experienced- snuggled on the couch in front of a warm fire, under the glow of our own decorated tree. I predict that each time I glance in the tree's direction, I'll be watching for any sly movements amongst the ornaments. You never know, right?

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    an enjoyable romp through a recognizable christmas world

    for anybody caught up in the mystery and magic of christmas, this book
    is an engaging, thoroughly enjoyable trip into that world. through the
    charming storytelling, we get a first-hand glimpse of the world of the
    things that make christmas what it is. following the adventures of the
    characters as they went on their journey was a pleasure. the pages turned easily, and i found myself rooting for them more and more as the plot unfolded. this book manages to combine light-hearted enjoyability with an engaging tension that kept me involved until the very end.
    this is a perfect bed-time read for the kids. highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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