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Horace Helfin's Holiday Home based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I have this deep love for Christmas. It's not even the whole presents thing (although that is a plus), but I just love the decorations, the food, the Christmas tree, the music, the cheesy movies, the cozy New England winters (unless of course I have to actually step out of the house), just the whole ambience. However, I have yet to find an actual Christmas book that I actually love. Horace Helfin's Holiday Home was no exception, even though I did like it. It took me about 60 pages to get into this book (a long while...). I liked it while I was reading it, but once I put it down, I didn't really want to pick it back up. I thought that maybe listening to my iPod while reading would make the book go by faster. It did. Then a Christmas song came up (I have about 50 Christmas songs that get heavy rotation all year round and about 150 others that go back into my iPod around late October). I then decided that if I listen to my all-year-round Christmas playlist, maybe I'd get into the book. Lo and behold, it worked! The little Christmas ambience I created for myself allowed me to enjoy the book way more than I previously was. For the most part, I found Sally and Horace Helfin absolutely adorable. MILD SPOILER: The one part where they (along with the other neighborhood kids) give their toys away to the less fortunate kids really warmed my heart and made my eyes tear up a little (I'm a sap). Sure, I did roll my eyes a bit at how extreme the lesser than nice adults were portrayed (seriously, there was a crook and a crank on every corner), but I just kept reminding myself "It's a children's book. The adults have to be evil" (just ask Roald Dahl). However, the things that Horace and Sally did weren't all that nice either. I remember thinking more than once "Dude, these kids are kind of brats..." Of course, that was me looking at this book through my adult eyes and thoughts (seriously, when the heck did THAT happen?). I'm sure if I was a ten-year-old kid, I'd be tickled pink at what Horace and Sally were doing, but since I'm 21, not all of their antics were amusing. Anyway, for the most part I did enjoy Horace Helfin's Holiday Home. It was a cute, cheesy, Christmas book for children (Heh. Say that five times fast. And we're back to the non-adult thoughts. Phew, that was close!) While I didn't love it, I am sort of looking forward to Horace Helfin's Horrifying Halloween (also try saying that five times fast). That book also seems cute.
Sally's only wish for Christmas is that her parents get back together. Sally's parents long to be with each other, but grew apart because of intense work demands. In fact, her father's boss has been purposely heaping on work to drive a wedge between her parents. Enter Horace Helfin, a small boy that showed up on the doorstep of Saint Bartholomew's Orphanage a few days ago, "as if he fell from the sky." He won't say how he got there, or where he comes from. In fact, he talks in rhyme. Sister Mary of St Bart's thinks Horace may be blocking some kind of abuse, and wants to give him a nice experience for the holidays. Both of Sally's parents agree to be Horace's Big Sibling, and Horace goes to live with Sally and her mom for the holidays. Horace has a playful, impish side, and seems to be playing practical jokes, but magical things happen when he is around, and he transforms the people around him. When I got my copy of the book, I saw a twelve-year-old boy glued to it. In fact, he zipped through the first 60 pages at warp speed. I can see why. Horace Helfin's Holiday Home was fun, funny, heartfelt, and pulled me in from page one. The real-life issues presented made the characters compelling. The underlying drama was wonderfully balanced with laugh-out-loud humor. McCarthy has that rare ability to write for children and adults alike. Weaving mystery, comedy, and powerful emotions, he conjures up holiday magic that will delight everyone. Look out! Horace delivers a surprising, climactic ending. The story has screen adaptation written all over it. Meanwhile, Horace Helfin is the perfect stocking-stuffer, a treasure just in time for the holidays. Review By A. R. Silverberry