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Lisa M. Hendey reviews Haley Stewart's new children's book, perfect for a Christmastime family read-aloud.

With The Curious Christmas Trail, gifted author Haley Stewart continues her adorable Sister Seraphina Mysteries series. Set on Christmas Eve and filled with the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, this story involves two young mice coming to the rescue to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of the wandering older Sister Dymphna. The storytelling is fun here and the mystery is just provocative enough to keep us turning the pages but never too scary for young readers.


Curious Christmas Trail cover

I love two aspects of this book the most. First, there is a strong theme of vocational calling here. One touching scene occurs between Sister Dymphna and little Goldie, a mouse who has been assigned to portray “just an angel” in her school’s annual Christmas play when she really wants a starring role as Mary. Sister wisely and lovingly counsels her,

“Sometimes, we’re in the background and sometimes we’re in the spotlight. But what matters most is that we do the part God has asked of us with our whole heart.”


Second, and even more important, is the tenderness shown toward elderly Sister Dymphna, whose aging has brought troubling signs of wandering and forgetfulness. Her fellow sisters involve the younger mice in finding and helping the elderly sister in a way that offers Sister Dymphna dignity and compassion, never making fun of her. The children are delighted in being a part of an elder’s care. Isn’t this a wonderful message?!

Coupled with Haley’s lovely prose are illustrations by Betsy Wallin that truly bring the mice characters and their home (tucked beneath the floorboards of G.K. Chesterton’s house) to life.

As a bonus, the book offers instructions for making paper snowflakes, a perfect script for a short Christmas play, and a brief bio of G.K. Chesterton.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! The Curious Christmas Trail is an instant Christmas classic, but also a gift that will keep on giving all year long.

Find The Curious Christmas Trail at Pauline KidsAmazon or your local retailer.

A question for you: What are your favorite Christmas storybooks?



Copyright 2022 Lisa M. Hendey
Images: Canva

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