256pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
It used to be the most WONDERFUL time of the year, but for years Christmas has been taken over by Winterzone.
All the things that made Christmas special are gone: the human connection, the baubles passed down through generations, even the rubbish cracker jokes.
Instead, Christmas is run by robots, while 3D holograms of Santa Claus called Santavatars check if you’ve been naughty or nice – and on Christmas Eve, all of the presents are delivered by ZoneDrones instead of Santa’s reindeer!
But when they stumble on a curious clue, eleven-year-old Etta and her friend Monty find themselves thrown into a fight to bring back Christmas. Racing against time and against the might of Winterzone, they must find the real Santa – before the true meaning of the festive season is lost forever . . .
In some ways, our children are used to Christmas being virtual with travel restrictions meaning a lot of family get-togethers are being done online, and as a consequence, a lot of the long-held traditions and rituals have been let go. So as well as being an engaging read for young independent readers with a unique-till-now theme, it is also an opportunity for them to reflect on the things that they would miss most about Christmas if they were taken away. What are the things that their family does that make it a personalised experience, the things they will continue to do with their own children in years to come? What have they taken for granted? What do they want to reinstate?
For many, Christmas is about family and making memories and there is a lot of effort put into making it a magical time but what do our children actually take on board? And perpetuate? This is an entertaining story in itself, but with the capacity to encourage some great what-if thinking…