Home Is Where You Start

Two regrets:

1. The book did not come to my attention when published in 2014 and 2018, but I am glad Al E. Boy shared the 2021 edition. I am more sorry that the Canada-born, English teacher, currently in Seoul, South Korea, did not send his latter works – The Adventures of Fawn (2020), or The Adventures of Fawn Book 3: Far and Yet So Near (2016), or The Adventures of Fawn Book 2: The Ona Pendulum >(2015).

2. I also wish the author and I gained acquaintance sooner. Al E. Boy, lived one of my fondest dreams. He was a Santa Claus for nearly 40 years, which his bio reports led to the development of quite a repertoire of tales to explain and answer the many questions children ask about St. Nick, the North Pole, reindeer, Santa’s friends, and elves.

The award-winning first book in The Adventures of Fawn series landed on my reading shelf around Nov. 18, just in time for the reviewer’s holiday rush. It took a while to explore the text. Ir’s a tightly plotted, rollicking coming of age story at the North Pole and other vibrant settings that involves scientists, kidnappers, a companion named Bunny, and a variety of fantasy characters that include a snowman and elves. Through her interactions with them, Fawn, the daughter of Santa’s famous reindeer, Comet and Vixen, finds true meaning in her life.

Most Middle School children can grasp Boy’s prose. Despite the fact that the actions happen in 1849, good readers will enjoy the tale because the characters are fresh. Fawn reflects so much of today’s impetuous pre-teen and teen angst. She wants to grow up fast and to break out of the bond’s that surround her life in Santa’s world. Independence is her answer to a “hum drum life”. Her parents try to explain the responsibilities in reindeer life, but that message comes as static to Fawn’s ears.

The novel’s structure and complex plot portrays a colorful, imaginative world that makes the work seem more aimed at the child that resides in many parents and other adults. If nothing else, adults who suffer through their pre-teen’s and teen’s evolutions will relate to passages where the precocious youth, comes to an ultimate realization:

Fawn turned to Santa and Wajic. Tiny tears of joy were welling up in the corners of her soft doe eyes. Her emotions were getting the better of her.

“Oh, Santa, Wajic. My heart. It–it feels so–so–oh! I just don’t know how to describe it. We’re all together! My mum and dad, my friends–new–and even newer. All here together. When we were in those cages on the ship–I thought–maybe it was all gone forever. I love them all! You understand? Don’t you?”

Wajic nodded and leaned close to Fawn. “It appears my dear, in your search for freedom–you found something that captured your heart!”

“I hadn’t thought of it like that! But, you’re right! I thought–I don’t know. I guess I thought that getting out–being free to do what I wanted to do—was so important. But, having everyone I love–right here with me now–I know how important that is too!”

Despite the author’s placement of the story in the 19th century, the characters and situations remain current stir the emotions and imaginations of today’s youth. The Adventures of Fawn: Til the Last Snowflake Falls, will survive beyond 2021, because the novel speaks to the most human desires for self-actualization and belonging. The tale’s lessons are somewhat sentimental, but will never go out of style.

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