Book Review: The Magic Christmas Ornament

The Magic Christmas Ornament by James Barbato
The Magic Christmas Ornament
by James and Victoria Barbato (Authors) Joe Huffman (Illustrator)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Three siblings hear the story about how their father found a magic ornament when he was a boy. When they examine the ornament on Christmas Eve, the children are whisked away to Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole, where they play with toys and meet Santa’s elves. They are given an ornament off Santa’s own Christmas tree, and they return home full of the joy of Christmas.

The writing is good, but has a stiff style, especially in the dialogue. It doesn’t flow as well as it could, but it’s not bad. The story is interesting, but rather simple. There isn’t anything particularly memorable or special in the plot, but it is a sweet story.

The illustrations really bothered me.

 The artwork looks like some strange blend of oil painting and photo-shopped pictures of people. Sometimes the background is really blurry, while other objects in the scene are unnaturally crisp. Characters are depicted as holding objects in their hands that look like they were drawn in a different art style from the character themselves, so it looks like someone copy and pasted the object into their hand.

Sometimes, the expressions on the characters faces are demented! They look like lunatics with wide smiles. Sometimes their heads look too big for their bodies, and I don’t even know what was wrong with the elves. They looked completely out of proportion.

I wonder if the illustrations are trying to capture the cartoon realism style from “Polar Express”, but this book does not do it well.

The accompanying ornament that comes with the gift set is a plain plastic ornament, covered with silk and gold braid. Two scenes from the book are printed on each side, but the printing is so blurry that it doesn’t look very good. I won’t be putting it on my tree this Christmas.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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