Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Beyond the Box by Josh Lancaster--A Review

Cute Christmas cover, don't you think?


The holidays mean many things to many people. "Christmas Beyond the Box" takes that notion a little farther, and provides some enchanting looks at the season from some very interesting perspectives. Suitable for all ages, there's sure to be a tale worth re-telling in this collection for many Christmases to come.


This book with the sweet cover is a compilation of Short stories.   There are six in total and they are not the usual Christmas stories you would expect.   The book is approximately 94 pages long and reads quickly if you sit still enough to read it.

A Time For Giving:    This short story was sort of fun.  The Binderburgs were honored to have sold their huge pine tree but then had second thoughts as the tree was deemed haunted by the folks hired to put it up and decorate it.    Mischief and mayhem ensued as folks were injured.  And the Binderburgs came to visit their tree where it stood and escorted the mischief makers back home.  It was an odd little story, but I did like it.

The List:  Must be nice to have a scientist of sorts for a dad!  This one had a science fantasy theme and the son of the scientist, uses his dad's invention to space and time travel, to the North Pole, where he finds Santa's headquarters.   What he seeks is to know whether he is on the good or naughty list.   Time as always runs out and the boy is safely returned home.    I liked this one as well.   Odd, but what kid wouldn't take advantage of a machine like that?

Love Story at Gate 6B:  This one was perhaps the shortest of the stories.  Christmas time at an airport was described quite nicely as an unnamed couple are to meet there.   His reactions to the Christmas hustle and bustle is told precisely as I would imagine the older gent carried away by the sea of people who inhabit air terminals during the holidays.   Finally, the last passenger to disembark is her and the story ends with them leaving together.

Behavior Modification:  This was a story of dark magic set before Christmas.   That was the only thing it had to do with Christmas however.   Kids would probably enjoy this story although they might feel the scare that I felt.   Casey's teacher unexpectedly leaves and the replacement teacher is odd to say the least.    She has total control of the class and if they dared to misbehave.....they disappeared.
Casey knows they are missing and no one believes him as he tries to reveal the happenings in their classroom.  With a little help from his best friend, Casey determines what needs to be done.   A bizarre story if ever there was one, sure to thrill any reader.

Vanishing Skills:  This was a very short story as well.   A little girl has a school assignment to interview the elderly about skills that they once had that are vanishing with age.   So she visits the retirement home and meets Malachi.   He thinks he's a perfect person to interview as he used to make magical lamps.   But the girl is too worldly to find him a suitable interviewee.   I was slightly disappointed in this one, it didn't relate to Christmas in any way that I could determine.

No Marbles This Year:  This was my favorite of all the stories included.  Jedidiah I was an old man who loved his family and gathered them together for Christmas, but this, his last Christmas with them,
was different from all others.   Past Christmases he had given each family member a marble, with a riddle that led to their gift,    This last year, they all received a snow globe.   Three months later, he passed away and his will was as odd a the marble/riddle game they played at Christmas.   Jedidiah IV
was just a boy when he received his snow globe, but he kept it and when he became an adult, he found the hidden message inside his globe.    After years of the family going their separate ways, he is commissioned to bring them back together for Christmas and Christmases to come.   This was a heartwarming tale of the bond between young and old and the far reaching wisdom of a dearly departed soul.

I found the title to be most appropriate for this collection of short stories.  The writing itself was fluent and easy to read and at approximately 94 pages, it read fast.   However, if you don't like short stories or are looking for that warm and fuzzy Christmas tale, don't be fooled.  This collection is from other perspectives, way outside the Christmas norm/box.

I rated this a 3 Wink read,but could be a four if given credit for being unique and different.

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I purchased this for my personal Christmas Kindle Collection.  

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