Many of us are familiar with the tale of the Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson. Like most of his fairy tales, it has a bitter-sweet ending. This Christmas tale follows a similar premise - a toy which is lost and has an adventure on his way home. The book is also inspired by the author's favourite Christmas carol "Little Drummer Boy".
In a wintry little town, a toy drummer boy appears mysteriously on a child's doorstep with the message "Open now and enjoy the Christmas spirit early." The child loves his new toy and the drummer boy reciprocates the only way he can by playing 'Boom pum pum Boom pum.' One morning the toy is left standing on the nightstand and he falls accidentally into the trash can. This is the beginning of his adventure. He meets a grumpy old rat and a hungry screech owl. He calms both animals down with his drumming. Then, he finds himself looking over the city that looks so lonely. He plays his drum and everything is at peace. In his adventures, the toy also meets a dog, a snowman and a racoon and brings them some warmth and friendship. He ends up in a cemetery where his owner miraculously finds him, having come there to visit his grandfather's grave. The boy takes him home and places him at the feet of baby Jesus in the crib. It is only then that the drummer boy himself feels a warmth in HIS heart, as he plays like never before.
I loved how the refrain from the drummer boy's playing permeates the entire story. It is repetitive and actually has a calming effect in its steady rhythm. A parent or teacher could even get the kids to memorize the rhythm and drum along! The illustrations are beautiful and captivating and provide a wonderful backdrop to the simple language of the story.
Although the setting is obviously Christmas time, the name 'Jesus' is not mentioned once in the book - He is referred to only as 'the baby in the stable.' Therefore, this is a book which is accessible by anyone regardless of religious affiliation. A Christian, of course, will have a unique perspective.
It is only when you get to the end of the book that you truly understand the message attached to the gift at the beginning - "enjoy the Christmas spirit." You realize that the true spirit of Christmas is one of giving and caring. This is a heart-warming tale about being unselfish even when experiencing hardship, sharing your talents with others, and bringing peace and love to the world around you. This book celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.
The book is suitable for children age 4 - 8.
I found this in the Children's Section of the Public Library.