Friday, December 2, 2011




Diane Stringham Tolley

One magical element of Christmas is the increased desire families have to gather and read together, and whether you feel drawn to inspirational stories about the Christ Child, or to whimsical tales about Santa and his elves, give Diane Stringham Tolley's charmer, "Carving Angels" a try. It wraps inspiring themes of service, divine nature, and family love around an endearing North Pole tale that makes for a lovely family read.

Papa Adam, a gifted carver, believes he is an elf without a purpose since blindness robbed him of his talent. But losing his sight is a not all Papa Adam has lost. As he retreats inwardly, other elves mourn his condition and reverently coddle the old master artisan. But where is Papa Adam’s family?

One day, Amy, his five-year-old and only granddaughter, pays him an unexpected and much-needed visit. Born late and last to parents whose arms are already swarming with grandchildren, Amy also feels a bit displaced, and comes seeking the companionship of her famed, but despondent grandfather.

She arrives with a splendid piece of wood in her hands, seeking a favor--to have the nearly-crippled and blind Papa Adam carve some wondrous creation for her, as he previously had done for all the other children. The old elf laments that he cannot, dwelling on the infirmities plaguing him, but Amy bring additional gifts—her “blind” faith in him, words of confidence, and her own personal need she believes only her grandfather can fill. Papa Adam finds the will to try once more.

But his gifted hands, lifelong experience, and renewed inspiration will not lead him to carve mere toys. No, he begins to see a greater purpose to fulfill, and more than that, he finds that Amy harbors secret talents of her own. And like the wood they work, marvelous beauty emerges within them, and within the people whose lives they touch.

Tolley’s Carving Angels is a gentle read, suitable for small children, while the messages will resonate sweetly with adults and tweens as well. At under 120 pages, it’s a fairly quick read that could fill bedtime story hour for a week, and inspire worthwhile discussion on a number of timely, family-friendly themes. I found it delightful and plan to share it with my grandchildren this Christmas.

Published by Cedar Fort, this charmer is available in most LDS bookstores, and on Amazon.

1 comment: