Young adult author Lynn Brittney has written a wonderfully creative Christmas adventure story called Christine Kringle. While Kriss Kringle (Santa Claus) brings gifts to small children here in the US, did you know that Babbo Natale delivers his gifts in a shiny, red Ferrari (what else would an Italian Gift Bringer drive?). Australia's Santa, fondly known as OzNick likes to wear colorful Hawaiian shirts and the preferred mode of transportation for Hawaii's Kanakaloka is a canoe. It is a little known fact that each country actually has its own Gift Bringer (did you really think one Santa could possibly deliver all those gifts in one night?) with traditions to match.
This year the Yule Dynasty, as the various Santas are collectively known, are converging on Finland for their annual convention before the hectic season begins. For Kriss Kringle there is a most serious matter at hand. Christine, his only daughter, is hoping to take over this important job from her father, as there is no male heir in the Kringle family. Tradition declares that the job is always passed along through the male line. Of course Kristine is only fourteen, and she still has a lot to learn, but it's time to put the motion forward. It's not unheard of that a woman might be a Gift Bringer. Just look at La Befana, or St. Lucia. But you know how hard it is to get people to budge when a tradition is so firmly entrenched.
Just as Kriss makes his plea to the Yule Dynasty, mayhem erupts. The small town of Plinkbury in England has done the unthinkable. They are calling Christmas off. Dynasty members are stunned. No tree in the square. No lights on the buildings. Not a single carol will be sung. What's worse, Plinkbury has lost its Christmas spirit. It doesn't even have the will to fight back. It'll take a plan hatched by Kriss and Ma Kringle (and tweaked just a wee bit by "the sisterhood") and undertaken by Christine and her fellow teenage friends Little K and young Nick (the only convention attendees sure not to be missed) to set things to rights in Plinkbury.
And we're just now getting to the fun part. Flying Ferrari's, living lights, magical chocolates, and the ladies of Bella Shuttleworth's Christmas Convention Club are just a few ingredients that it will take to shake Plinkbury up and remind the town what Christmas really means.
There were lots of creative and magical elements to the story (you might be curious about elves or how Santa really does get down that chimney?). I don't read a lot of young adult literature, but this was a delightful and surprising sort of book. I tend to shy away from overtly seasonal types of stories for fear they will be trite or overly sentimental, but this was really a pleasure to read, action-filled and entertaining. This would definitely appeal to young (and maybe even not so young) adults. Although Lynn is a British author, copies can be ordered here in the US from Amazon. You can check out Lynn's website here. Thanks to Lynn to sending me a copy of Kristine Kringle to read. I enjoyed her YA Shakespearean adventure story, Nathan Fox, earlier this year.