My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Until I read the disappointing Holidays on Ice, I had rarely read Christmas-themed adults' books. I decided to try a more uplifting choice. Wishin' and Hopin' is a good, old-fashioned, and light-hearted story about growing up in a small town in the 1960s.
Felix Funicello (distant cousin of Annette), fifth grader at St. Aloysius Gonzaga parochial school, doesn't quite get his best friend's dirty jokes and still ends up in his parents bedroom when he has nightmares. His sisters torment him, and his schoolmate nemesis, Rosalie Twerski, is obnoxious and arrogant. Life is fairly predictable until his school gains two new arrivals: Quebecian substitute teacher Madame Frechette, who shakes up the nuns with her daring ideas, and a new entertaining, salty Russian classmate, Zhenya Kabakova.
Wishin' and Hopin' is full of hilarious scenarios (at the school Christmas performance, the Pillsbury Bakeoff, and a live children's TV show), 60s Americana, and family love.