Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I saw three ships

I saw three ships

Elizabeth Goudge
Illustrator:  Margot Tomes 
For ages 7 and up
David R Godine, 2008   ISBN: 978-1567923698

Last Christmas Polly Flowerdew was living with her father and her mother on their farm in the country. On the night of Christmas Eve they left a door open so that the Wise Men might visit. This Christmas Polly is living with her two elderly aunts in their cottage by the sea. Her mother and father were killed in an accident and her aunts are not at all keen to leave any doors open. After all, they don't have anyone to protect them.

Despite the fact that her aunts are against the idea, Polly does not give up. When her aunts are in bed she goes downstairs to open a door. Unfortunately, fully appreciating their niece's ways, the aunts have locked the doors, and have taken the keys away with them. Polly decides that a window will have to suffice. And through that window come three men, wise in their ways, who carry with them the whiff of Christmas magic.

Elizabeth Goudge, who wrote The Little White Horse and many other books, had a great gift for creating an atmosphere with the minimal of fuss. In this story a little girl and the grownups that she cares about receive a wonderful Christmas gift that no one expected. The story is short, but it is perfectly paced, and readers will be left with a feeling that they have been given something very special.