“Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent” by Lauren Child

I love the holiday season. But if there is one thing I just loathe about it is the commercials. We all know that advertising should be taken with a grain of salt, but this time of the year, we are talking a giant salt rock. You just NEED TO  have those leather boots and that designer purse IN TIME for the holidays. You simply HAVE TO get your wife that new car and your kids will have the best holiday ever ONLY if YOU BUY THEM the latest tech gadgets. Seriously? Is the key to Merry Christmas hidden in the piles of deals, novelties and must-haves at the ever so overwhelming shopping malls? Is the shopping frenzy a fool-proof recipe for a happy holiday? How much money are we supposed to spend this year to guarantee our success as a ‘gifter’? What about those who won’t find a tower of presents under their tree? Is the Christmas passing them by? Has Santa forgotten about them?

It might sound preposterous, but I think we need some kind of Grinch this Christmas. Someone who would take away all those flashy extras and fancy-wrapped redundancies, so that we could see again the bare beauty of this holiday and redefine its magic.

Today’s book is not about Christmas as such. But it is about happiness and what makes us truly happy.

Huber Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent was a child prodigy. He was great at many things. His parents on the other hand, were great at playing board games, throwing parties and throwing their grand fortune away. Every time their genius son would come up with a genius plan to secure his family money, the effort would be wasted due to his parents’ love of fun. He would charge money to visit their mansion, but the parents would invite the numerous guests to a party, for example. Finally, Hubert decided to sell whatever was left and the family moved to a modest apartment building. Surprisingly, nobody minded. At least now the people loving parents had lots of neighbors to chat with. The family could be closer to each other and Hubert’s hot chocolate was still warm when he got to his parents’ bedroom to play games. After all, money was not the thing that defined Hubert’s family and it wasn’t directly proportional to their happiness. On the contrary, actually.

Let’s remember this as we prepare for this holiday season. Christmas is a time of giving, no doubt about it, but best gifts are in us. Let’s show it to our children this holiday season. Let’s give our loved ones our best. 

As far as the book, Lauren Child has proven her superb creativity once again. Witty humor,  engaging story, inventive illustrations.  One of a kind.