Onward Is Best: A Christmas Journey by Sarah Jean Linquist* was published after the author's death by a collective of her family and friends. It is available exclusively at Left Bank Books and through the book's website.
Dolly's adventures make up the classic journey of self-discovery. As she makes her way through magical realms such as Paper Land, Metal Land and Desolation Land, she grows into herself and finds she might not be happy playing it safe by living with Santa. The friends she makes are tried and true, and she quickly finds she could never make it back to the North Pole without their help. The natural geographic divisions of her travels parcel this tale into neat sections, making it perfect for reading together over a series of nights. Best of all are the marvelously detailed illustrations, made up of photographs of landscape dioramas. The aesthetic is reminiscent of the classic I Spy books, with endless facets to explore. This story could easily become a holiday tradition for families to share for years to come.
Onward Is Best: A Christmas Journey is published by On the Wall Productions, Inc. and retails for $40.00, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Cancer Support Community of Greater St. Louis. I got my copy by taking the spiral-bound sample edition off the shelf for a while. (The real books are hardbound and shrink-wrapped.) You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!
*In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I worked briefly on two different projects with Sarah (once in late 2007, again in early 2008). We only met briefly, and she was working as a scenic artist, not in any literary capacity.