Bertie’s Christmas Adventure
The Book Reality Experience (2022)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (12/2022)
“Bertie’s Christmas Adventure” by Mandy Woolf tells how a toy, specifically a beach ball, saves Christmas and overcomes his fears to do so.
The story begins on Christmas Eve at a toy store where Bertie the beach ball is sitting on a shelf and is, like usual, feeling frightened of things around him. The next thing he knows, the door opens unexpectedly, and in with the cold wind comes Santa! Santa is worried because his sleigh is stuck in the snow, and now Bertie is worried because Santa has asked him to help! With some encouragement from Santa, Bertie is good to go and cleverly accomplishes his task of removing the sleigh. Too bad for Santa again, because now one of his reindeer is feeling under the weather and refusing to fly; well, Bertie did just accomplish several big feats already, so less encouragement is needed this time to get him to agree to assist the other reindeer with flying the sleigh.
Bertie helps Santa throughout the night but ends up bruising himself just as many times so that by the end of the night, Santa has one last problem, and the seemingly only way to fix it is by Bertie giving up something of his own that is needed to keep him full of air. Will Bertie make such a big sacrifice or revert back to his worried ways? Can he successfully help Santa throughout the entire night or were his assists only temporary?
“Bertie’s Christmas Adventure” is a Christmas story with themes similar to other Christmas stories I’ve read, but having a beach ball was a first for me. Positive themes of caring/thinking of others, bravery/overcoming fears, picking the seemingly least likely character to star and show off their skills, and, of course, Christmas/Santa help the story be relatable to all readers, with many readers likely involved with or know of others involved with these themes.
Reading this story to my kids, they presented to have their attention kept and talked about the positive things that Bertie did to help Santa and others; this then led to a discussion of the good things they can do for others, whether intentional or not. The end of the story provides proper closure and shows Bertie’s thoughts regarding ourselves versus others. A delightful holiday story for children and the entire family!