No one knows where the trains go or what lies beyond the mountains and the forests. They've never seen grass or walnut trees, but they do discover how tomatoes are named. And roses and violets and orchids. There aren't any summer vacations. No spring showers. And as for leaves rustling in the autumn rain?
And so beings the tale of Christmasville.
In a town nestled between magic and miracle, dream and deja vu, Mary Jane Higgins embarks on a series of perilous journeys, determined to resolve the riddle of Christmasville. Although it's forbidden, she crosses train tracks, approaches the bottomless abyss, travels through a wilderness that "operates according to a different set of rules." Along the way she encounters a mysterious donkey, a shepherd boy with his lamb and three riders on...camels?
"...[but] camels only exist in myths and fairy tales, like unicorns and giraffes, dragons and elephants."
On the changing checkerboard of Christmasville, buildings and houses are rearranged annually according to a new "plan" of things. The calendar consists of only two pages: December and January. But no one gets any older. And the worst of ailments is poison ivy, and color blindness, and signs of that most harrowing of afflictions: partial baldness.
It's a town perennially covered in new fallen snow, perpetually decorated in yuletide trimmings. It's a town that in many ways is typical, or evocative - one that we might dream of - but one which operates according to three, slightly skewed, phenomena - time, space and memory. And no one - save one - suspects that something is awry. Eric Hoffer Award finalist. [Michael Dutton; (2007) 225 pages; hard cover; young adult to adult]