Local mother-daughter authors and University of Delaware alumnae Carol and Cori Burcham have written a children’s picture book based on a rhyme composed by Carol’s father.
With a dual message for children and adults, “Goodness Gracious Golly Gee: I Forgot My Christmas Tree!” calls attention to the collective stress parents and adults experience during the holiday season. It reminds parents and young readers that the simplest gifts of Christmas – such as sitting in front of a warm, cozy fire surrounded by family and friends – are often the most valuable.
“Goodness Gracious Golly Gee: I Forgot My Christmas Tree!” follows one father’s journey as he scrambles to prepare for Christmas festivities. Like most adults during the holiday season, he is overwhelmed by the expectations that come with Christmas and worries he won’t be ready in time for Santa’s arrival.
Will his family, not to mention Jolly Old St. Nick, be disappointed if there’s no Christmas tree? In this whimsical, rhyming Christmas tale, the father learns to manage his holiday-related anxiety with the help of a mysterious, magical Christmas figure who reminds him of the true spirit of Christmas.
“The rhyme, ‘Goodness gracious golly gee, I forgot my Christmas tree! Goodness gracious golly gee, what will Santa think of me?’ is something my father Samuel Thompson said to me and my siblings as children. The saying stuck with me and became the inspiration for my first children’s book,” said Carol Burcham.
While the rhyme was written over 50 years ago by Thompson, the message still rings true today as many adults experience an increase of stress during the holiday season. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men fall victim to holiday anxiety.
With a reading level of 3-8 years of age, the story is meant to be shared between parents and their young children.
“The father’s story is one I think parents will be able to relate to on a personal level,” said Cori Burcham. “Essentially, it’s the story of every hardworking parent attempting to balance both their work and personal lives. It’s my mother’s story – working a full-time job as an elementary school teacher while raising three young children and attending night classes to advance her degree.”
From an educator’s perspective, the rhyming element of the book has many benefits for children.
“This delightful family holiday book is a wonderful way to teach young learners to embrace the magic and excitement of Christmas,” said Nimi Bhaya, an elementary school teacher with a 39-year career in the Brandywine School District. “Books that have a strong pattern and rhythmic flow help children read along with an adult and enhance early reading skills.”
With lively illustrations by Agus Projogo, the book is available at Bethany Beach Books and online through the publisher, Mascot Books, at mascotbooks.com.
It also has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Carol Burcham of Newark taught kindergarten and first grade for 14 years. She was inspired to write her own children’s book after reading picture books in her classes. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in early childhood education.
Cori Burcham of Ocean View is an aspiring novelist and a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing. Her short story “The Pocket Watch” is published in the University of Delaware’s literary magazine, Caesura. She wrote two comic books for the education initiative known as the Ese’Eja Graphic Novel Project. She is currently a freelance journalist.