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The Age of Not Believing: A Christmas Tale by Andrew Szlachetko tells the story of Thomas, a young boy who is beginning to doubt the magic of Christmas. His internal struggle comes to a head on Christmas Eve when he is taunted by his fellow classmates for his strong belief in Father Christmas. Angry and confused, Thomas lashes out at one of his tormentors.
As he prepares for bed that evening, he is consumed with feelings of guilt. Where had the joy of the season gone? Why was he so depressed?
Upon falling asleep, he hears voices calling his name. The voices lead Thomas downstairs to the family Christmas tree. As Thomas approaches the tree, he begins to shrink!
He soon finds himself in a strange land known as Semdar. A young boy named Daniel appears and informs Thomas that all children who are of the age of not believing have been captured by the evil witch, Torga. She has placed a powerful spell upon these children that causes them to hate Christmas.
The fate of Semdar is now in Thomas’ hands. Will he be able to rediscover the magic of Christmas in time to save the children of this enchanted land?
I found this story to be mesmerizing from start to finish. Szlachetko does an amazing job of creating a mythical world that is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Some portions of the book also remind me of The Nutcracker and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Szlachetko combines essences of both stories seamlessly.
Patricia Moffett’s illustrations are stunning to behold. The mixture of soft pastels aids in conveying the themes of loneliness, doubt and disbelief. The Age of Not Believing: A Christmas Tale is a wonderful read that will delight people of all ages for years to come.