The Watchmaker who saved Christmas
Random House, 2009
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A9.99
The watchmaker is a master craftsman, mending those “old-fashioned” watches and clocks that still rely on tiny cogs and wheels to make them go and which have hands that move inexorably around a beautiful face, not “digital displays and flashing numbers”. Like many craftsmen of his time , he lived behind his shop and rented the top two floors to a young mother and her son Peter who is almost totally deaf.
Three days before Christmas an unkempt old man with a bushy heard, rosy red cheeks, long silvery-white hair and twinkling eyes came into the shop. He had a very special pocket watch that he needed mended urgently . But it was a watch like no other the watchmaker had seen and he wasn’t sure if he could. But he set to work on the tiny jewelled pivots, the elaborate cogs with their delicate teeth, hair springs connected to complicated ratchets and miniature chains. Even though he worked late into the night, all was going well until he came to a broken wheel that was made from something he’d never seen before. He fashioned one in brass but that didn’t work and he was very concerned.
But then Peter comes up with an amazing solution that gets the unusual watch going again, and when the old man comes back, the watchmaker gets the surprise of his life when he discovers what the watch is used for. And it answers all those questions about how Santa does it – gets to all those places around the world in a single night. No wonder this is called The Watchmaker who saved Christmas. What a pickle the world would be in if he hadn’t!
I think this has become my new favourite Christmas story. Told in such a loving, gentle way paying tribute to the author’s own father who was a watchmaker, it has none of the brashness and hoo-haa of so many Christmas tales. It is rich in text and image with a real story about friendship, unselfishness and perseverance that lingers in the mind long after the last page is turned. There’s a real sense of satisfaction at having read a good story.
So glad this was recommended to me.