A Christmas Quest:
A Young Boy's Unexpected Christmas Vacation
by C. H. Crane Trafford Publishing

"Tim, looking over at the once-animated Alex, could only see what appeared to be lifeless mounds of snow and ice."

It's the last day of school before Christmas vacation. Tim, an energetic 12-year-old can't wait. He and his best friend, Stretch, are even more excited after hearing that a snowstorm is predicted for the day. Stretch has the plans with him they'd worked on for several years to build a Santa Claus trap. They make changes to it every year but never catch anything. Tim wonders if the reason they have never caught anything is because Santa doesn't exist. His parents suggest he write a letter to Santa "just in case."

Tim and Stretch are near the snowman they had built when they hear someone calling them. They are startled when the snowman comes to life and introduces himself as Alexander, a member of a Santa's secret society of snowmen. The boys are asked to help prevent an evil character known as the Jester from stealing the Christmas holiday. They enlist the help of Tim's brainy cousin, Natalie, and together are on a mission to save Christmas. They go to the library to do research, listen to the stories of Alexander and other snowmen, and hide on Christmas Eve while waiting for the chance to capture this imposter.

The author has written a fast-moving, delightful story for middle grade children. This is not just about Christmas, but also about how ordinary actions end up as major events. Imagine a simple visit to the library turning into a top secret research project. The snowmen in the front yards are actually on guard duty. Trees with limbs weighted down with snow form a secret tunnel. The act of building a snowman becomes a contest for the biggest and best decorated. It also gives the two boys and the brainy Natalie an adventure they can agree on and share. The book is 112 pages of charm with small illustrations that fit the story. Regardless of the age of the reader, this story turns the Christmas holiday into an adventure.

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