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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 August 2001
Read this book in December, when you're fed up with the commercialism of it all and re-capture the magic you felt as a child. It's magical, enchanting and it certainly appealed to the child in me. The clever layering of stories - Joachim in the present and Elisabeth as she makes her journey through time - keeps the brain engaged. But this book is about more than that - despite being built around the Christian Christmas story, it's really about light, hope and joy and a reminder that not everything is about jingling cash tills. A book to treasure.
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on 1 October 2003
Gaarder as always takes the reader on a wonderful joyfilled journey of enlightenment, it really brings home the Christian message of Christ being present to His people in human flesh and all people can turn to Him and see him alive in all ages and times. Advent is a time of preperation for the coming of Christ, this book grabs the reader and holds the interest so much that you want to read the next day, just like a child wants to open the next chocolate of the advent calander. The preperation that Gaarder provides is a caring one and patient one. Its a true "Must Read", especially in preperation for CHRISTMAS...
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on 23 December 2000
If you want to put some Magic into a child's Christmas, get this book and read it, one day at a time: It is the best Advent story since Dickens.
This year I did just that - for myself, and the feelings, of warmth and excitement generated made the darker days of winter a little lighter. Like the little boy in the story, I wanted to know the ending, and like the boy, I didn't want it to end.
Each 'chapter' is given a date, starting on the first day of December. There are 24 chapters, and, as it opens - like a flower, or like detective story - new ideas, new questions and new meanings are given to what has almost become a cliché, the Christmas Story and the power generated by it.
You cross Europe, you cross history. You are involved in serious questions - that of refugees, and of lost children, and of power - issues presented in a way a child can start to make sense of if presented in this simple, but not naïve, way.
I am not, by the way, a Christian: Nor am I a child. But I really enjoyed this book.
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on 24 October 2000
Having avidly read "Sophie's World" and felt a touch disappointed by "Through a Glass Darkly", I thought it was time to give Gaarder another chance. I'm so happy to have now made this decision. Gaarder masterfully simplifies a potentially complex story as majestically as he does in "Sophie's World". The author has the ability to transform the page you read and the thoughts in your mind, and to think that this has been translated from one language into 42 others, and I can't believe has lost anything in transit! Segregated into the days of Advent makes it easy to read. What a perfect Christmas Present. If you liked "Sophie's World" this one's for you. Enjoy!!
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on 13 November 2003
A truly wonderful preparation for Christmas. I read it every December to my children (aged 5&7) and can see myself doing so for another ten years! The mystery unfolds each day as a slip of paper falls out of a boy's advent calender. It tells the tale of a girl who follows a toy lamb, that suddenly comes to life, out of a toy shop. As she follows the lamb she encounters an angel...Each day (chapter) she encounters another character and travels further towards Bethlehem. However, she is not just travelling across land!
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on 25 December 2012
I was recommended this by my colleague at work, she used to read this to her children and thought I would like it. Even as an adult i admit to still buying an advent calender every year, the simple pleasure of opening those little doors every day. So what better could you get than a book Advent Calender. This book is divided into 24 chapters, one for each day. You simply read a chapter each day as your advent. Each chapter is short enough to fit in short time but gripping enough to make you want to come back for more.
Set in Norway, Joachim goes to a book store with his father and comes away with an old advent calender, behind each door he doesn't find chocolate but a neatly folded piece of paper with fragments of a story on. Day by day he pieces together the tale and discovers more about the magic of Christmas as he goes.
This book does follow the story of the birth of Christ on Christmas day. A young girl Elisabet, travels back through time meeting angels, shepherds and wise men along the way, learning the true meaning of love, hope, faith and friendship, all coming together to celebrate the real reason of Christmas. The mystery of what happens to the odd group and in particular Elisabet keeps you hooked and Joachim's eagerness to discover more also pulls you in.
This book withstands it's years and still captivates the true magic of Christmas. Well worth a read.
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on 20 July 2003
After reading this book I wished my children were still young enough to want me to read them stories. It is a novel advent calendar that would be lovely to read a chapter a day to experience this charming rendition of the Christmas story together.
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on 6 February 2013
I love this book. I have faithfully read it every December for many years and will continue to do so for years to come.

With a chapter for every day between the 1st and 24th of December it's a perfect alternative to an Advent calendar.

Essentially it's the Christmas story but at the same time it's an adventure, a history lesson, a story about family and love and a mystery about a missing girl.

If you took all the magic of Christmas, rolled it in ink and smeared it across paper, this book is how it would look.
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on 8 February 2011
So you're thinking of buying The Christmas Mystery hey? Well you won't be disappointed. You don't have to be a devout Christian or even a Christian come to that, to enjoy the real story of Christmas and as many people have said here amongst these reviews, it's lovely to read something that re-visits the real story of Christmas, when Christmas seems to have turned into something else entirely.

As I read the book and became mesmerised by the wonderful tale that unfolded before me, I realised that had I had children, I would have read that story to them on each of the Advent days leading up to Christmas. Had my Mum or Dad read this to me when I was little, it would have made Christmas even more special and I would have gone to sleep each Advent night dreaming of Elisabeth on her magical journey back in time with the Angels and Shepherds, Wise men, Kings and sheep and of Joachim, his parents and his exciting, equally magical Advent Calendar.

Don't think, just buy and enjoy.
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on 1 January 2009
I have read this book EVERY Christmas since I first bought it - and that must make 5 or 6 readings at this stage. I never tire of the simple, yet magical story. I am well past childhood but it is a book which appeals to child and adult alike. It is a book for anyone to whom Christmas means more than just an exchange of gifts, and too much food. I have always loved Advent Calendars, but sadly none of those I have ever had have been as special as the one in this book - but I keep hoping!
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