It's a Wonderful Life for Kids was written in celebration the film's 65th anniversary.
The author, Jimmy Hawkins, played the youngest Bailey child, Tommy. So naturally, the story focuses on his character.
Hawkins says in the Author's Note that, "I wanted to show young readers that everyone's life, no matter how old he or she may be, makes a difference."
It's a great message. Tommy gets his own story, pulling in characters we know and love like Mr. Gower, George Bailey, Clarence and Zuzu. There also are characters who are mentioned in the film but never make an appearance until this book. Mrs. Welch is one of those characters. Mrs. Carter, the wife of the bank examiner, is another. Also, one of Tommy's childhood friends is named Nick, like the bartender. Only fans of the film would pick up on these names.
While Tommy gets his own unique story, other sections, like scenes in Heaven, and scenes involving Tommy's guardian angel, Arthur, borrow entire sections of dialogue ... sometimes word for word ... from the film. A small part of me says this is lazy writing. Another part of me says it's a great way to introduce a new generation to the film and build recognition for the first time they watch it with mom and dad.
Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.