Sunday, December 6, 2009


by Steven Hornby


Enter the magical festive world of the Christmas 'Tree-Dwellers', as Larry, a

Christmas snowman, wakes up after the long sleep in the Christmas box, to find his brother is missing. Desperate to find him before Christmas, Larry, along with his girlfriend Debbie, a newcomer Splint, and Larry's companion Tinsel, break the laws of the ‘Tree-Elders’ and escape down the tree and away into the house, to look for clues. Away from the safety of the tree and in an unfamiliar world, the Dwellers stumble upon a dark and sinister secret that threatens their entire world. Can Larry and the group make it back to the tree in time to warn the others, and finally uncover the truth behind the ‘Secrets of a Christmas Box’?

Steven Hornby is a multi award winning animator and has been storytelling for over 15 years in visual effects and animated movies. He was born in Preston, England and attended Lancaster University for Design Communication. After working on a set of commercials in Europe and Australasia and his own short film, “Zzz Night”, Steven joined the animation crew in 2000, on the Academy Award winning “The Lord of the Rings” films in New Zealand. He is best known for his award winning animation, bringing to life J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional character, Gollum, on “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

He has since worked as a lead animator on “I, Robot” (2004), “King Kong” (2005),
Disney's “Meet the Robinson's” (2007) and “Glago's Guest” (2008), and more recently Dreamwork's “Kung Fu Panda” (2008), and “How to Train Your Dragon” (In Theaters 2010).

In 2009, Steven finished his children's fantasy novel, “Secrets of a Christmas Box” to be released in September 2009. He initially planned ‘Secrets of a Christmas Box’ as a screenplay after spending several years having the story running around in his head, but instead turned it into his first children's novel. Steven is currently working on the sequel to his Christmas novel. He lives in Burbank, California with his family.

SECRETS OF A CHRISTMAS BOX is a charming Christmas story about families and friendship that is bound to become a holiday classic. The Ferguson family have a tradition of collecting and storing all of their Christmas ornaments in a very big box marked with the words "Christmas Box" on all the sides. The family puts their tree up and each ornament is hung with great care as they reflect on when or where or why they got it. These are all special ornaments to the Fergusons, but occasionally for one reason or another, an ornament doesn't make it to the next year---things like that happen but nobody seems to know why. And so it is the story of these ornaments that is told in SECRETS OF A CHRISTMAS BOX!

Not unlike other fantasies in which toys, dolls, food or whatever come to life at night, so do the ornaments, the Tree-Dwellers, when everyone is asleep. During the nights, they like to visit their friends and eat pine needles off the tree. There is one ornament who is in charge and known as the Tree-Lord and he reminds the ornaments that there is a rule that they are never to leave the tree.

Larry, who is a snowman ornament, and the girl reindeer, Debbie, who is Larry's girlfriend, along with Larry's dog Tinsel, are forced to go against the Tree-Lord's rule. It seems that Larry's brother Terence is missing and in that a new ornament named Splint, is eager to help, they all take off in search of Larry's brother, hoping he is still in the "Christmas Box". They must solve a mystery that has a few twists and turns to keep you guessing along the way as they travel across darkened rooms and icy cold floors. Many adventures and dangers are encountered along the journey, and there are evil enemies at every turn. When they do finally discover the truth about Larry's brother, they realize they must get back to the tree in time to warn the others. When they get there, a battle of good and evil is bound to take place...but who will come out as the winner? It is up to Larry to save everyone and by doing so, bring back tradition to Christmas. Will they get back in time? Will Larry save the day?

As you can tell, this is a delightful tale but told in such a way to add to its charm and really put it in a position to be a traditional holiday classic is the format. Author Steven Hornby has written his story in 24 chapters so that you could read one chapter each night starting on December 1 until Christmas Eve...much like a countdown the whole family could enjoy or perhaps just a little one as you put them to bed each night in December. Children about 8-12 can enjoy this on their own, or read aloud, it can be a wonderful addition to holiday family time each night. The story may end a bit unexpectedly so you would want to read it yourself before reading it to very small children so to be sure they are not too sensitive and young to enjoy it as not everything can turn out perfectly at the end of a story, now can it...or CAN it?

[<span class=


brizmus said...

This book sounds absolutely, utterly delightful. I wish it were a true story! Wouldn't it be awesome if ornaments could come to life?

Ladytink_534 said...

This sounds like a lovely Christmasy story :)

g.g. said...

sounds enchanting....would make a good gift for a little one especially because you can read a chapter each night up until Christmas

anjamie4 AT gmail dot com

Margie said...

Yes, this would make a wonderful gift. Looks like a charming book!
mtakala1 AT yhahoo DOT com

bermudaonion said...

I love books like this! It sounds like it would be a great one for the whole family to read together.

Ryan G said...

From all the reviews I've seen of this book, I'm already in love with it. It reminds me of The Christmas Toy, the great movie by Jim Henson. I have to get this one.

Deedles said...

This does sound really magical!

Wrighty said...

I'm reading this right now! So glad you liked it. I'm hoping to share this with the little people in the family. I love the cover and the illustrations too! Great review!

Nannette said...

Hope I didn't miss the deadline - this sounds wonderful - especially since we just had our church children's musical (called Christmas Hang-Ups) about ornaments coming to life!