Focus on the Family

Mandie and the Holiday Surprise

A book review for parents

This mystery book, eleventh in the "Mandie" series by Lois Gladys Leppard, is published by Bethany House Publishers, an imprint of Baker Publishing Group.

Mandie and the Holiday Surprise is written for kids ages 9 to 14. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

Mandie and her friend Celia are excited to leave school for Christmas break. Mandie's mother promised her a big surprise for Christmas, and Mandie can't wait to discover what it is. When her mother and Uncle John are delayed due to weather and can't get home until Christmas Eve, Mandie becomes even more anxious. But excitement changes to anger when her mother tells the surprise: Mandie is going to have to share her mother with a new baby.

Christian Beliefs

Characters pray, ask God for help and are healed. Mandie thanks God for her answered prayers. They attend church on Sunday, and Uncle John reads the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible on Christmas morning.

Authority Roles

Mandie's grandmother plays a positive role in this story — Mandie's parents are absent through most of it. Her grandmother is responsible for her and makes Mandie aware of any selfish or harmful attitudes she has. Uncle Ned responds with love and patience to Mandie's anger over the new baby. He lovingly rebukes her with Scripture concerning her attitude, which ultimately leads to Mandie asking her mother for forgiveness.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence






Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

Note: In 2004, there were 40 books in the "Mandie" Series.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.