The Little Drummer Boy
Random House, 2011
32pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99
When she was a little girl, Annie’s grandfather carved the little drummer boy from the leg of an old oak table left on the street, painted it carefully and wrapped it up in paper and twine. Right from the start Annie loved it and it always had pride of place at the top of the Christmas tree. Year after year, no matter where she was, it would look down like the guardian angel of Christmas. Even when she had her own children and they had children, the little drummer boy was there at the top no matter how many other decorations were added. Even when he was getting a little faded, Annie put it down to his being loved and loved him more.
But there came a day when there was no Christmas tree and no Annie…
This is a beautiful, touching story of the enduring nature of love and Christmas traditions, traditions that bind families together across time and place at this time of the year. Even my own son, now 42, was horrified that I was contemplating not putting up a tree even though his family would not be able to visit this year. He needed to know that what has been familiar to him for 42 years would still continue anyway.
As well as being a charming story, it is also a time to explore the unique things that each child’s family does at this time, the things that have endured over time and those things that they will pass on to their own children. It even offers scope to look at the origins of some of the things that we, as a society, do each year and speculate on whether we will ever lose those northern winter images and customs that persist and why they have such deep roots in such a summer society anyway.
In the meantime enjoy my favourite version of my favourite Christmas song from my favourite group