Blowing dust is about all you can see from a farm on the prairies in the 1930s. Even worse, Andre and Elise's father has gone in search of work and it looks as though he won't be home for Christmas. The day he left their mother set an extra place at the table in case a stranger should come by looking for a meal. Wherever your father is, I hope someone will set a place for him, she says. But no one has come to their door.
Then at dinnertime on Christmas night, they hear knocking. In comes a mysterious stranger. After he finishes a huge meal, Mr. Balzini shows the family just how extraordinary he is. Silk scarves, a sunflower and a magic book are just the prelude to a spectacular trick, which conjures up the northern lights. Is it the magician who brings their father home just in time for Christmas?
In a story that evokes the myth of the prophet Elijah, and other folktales about the rewards of performing acts of kindness for strangers, Ian Wallace gives us a magical, beautiful book.
About the author
Ian Wallace has had a distinguished career as an author and illustrator of picture books, publishing many classics such as Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance, Boy of the Deeps and The Huron Carol. His visual interpretation of Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot received three starred reviews and was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book and a Resource Links’ Year’s Best. He has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.
- Commended, CCBC Our Choice (Starred Selection)
A heartwarming read-aloud about the true magic of kindness.
School Library Journal
Spare yet elegant, Wallace's...narrative and paintings share equal credit for the resonance of this tale...