The 13th book on this Christmas picture book journey is a Christian story, created by Lori Walburg and James Bernardin in 1997, called The Legend of the Candy Cane.
The story is set in the days of horses and farmers, and small prairie towns. A stranger comes to town and begins working on an abandoned building. The people all have different hopes of what he might be planning, and finally one girl can’t stand the suspense anymore and decides to help.
To her delight, he is a candymaker, just as the children had hoped! As she helps him unpack, she discovers a candy she had never seen before, the candy cane.
The candy man shares the legend of the candy cane with her and they set out to open the store, invite all the townspeople, and share the story of Jesus symbolized by the candy cane.
This is a sweet book for Christmas (pun unintentional!). In a season where the focus can get very materialistic and people’s teeth rot from all the sweets abounding; this tale takes the familiar candy cane and shares the story of Jesus’ birth, death and mercy in His love. Walburg’s writing is quite captivating and does not feel sugary (sorry, couldn’t help myself), or gimmicky. The joy of such a marvelous place as a candy store is a lovely thing to think about and the concept of using a traditional piece of candy to share a deeper message fits very well.
Lori Walburg is an author with Zondervan and has 2 books to her name, The Legend of the Candy Cane (with a new version that just came out), and The Legend of the Easter Egg. I actually really enjoy her storytelling and would be interested to read the Easter egg book as well. It is nice to find a Christian author who writes well and not overly simple or, excuse the childish term, gaggy. Hope to see more from her in the future.
James Bernardin has a beautiful illustration style. The illustrations for this book were created in acrylic and colored pencil. Each image is frame-worthy, although I would hate to tear them away from the story! His characters are incredibly detailed and he gives them such great personality. I plan on looking for more of his work. Oh, and he also illustrated The Legend of the Easter Egg for Walburg.
I definitely encourage sucking on a candy cane while reading this one, especially as it does have some length to it for little ones. The last page of the book also shares the history of the candy cane, which this legend is based on for those who are interested in more facts.
Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books.