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#PenguinDelight Review: Little Santa by Jon Agee

little santaEver wonder what Santa was like as a child? Award-winning author/illustrator Jon Agee brings us the funny, playful answer in this Christmas picture book destined to become a classic.

Little Santa loves the North Pole. The rest of his family?  Not so much. So, when they decide to move to Florida, Santa is miserable. Lucky for him, a blizzard foils their plans. The only way out of the house is up the chimney. Up goes Santa, to look for help, and along the way, he meets a reindeer and a large group of elves, who are more than eager to join in the rescue!
With the sly humour of Jon Klassen and the read-aloud pleasure of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this tale of Santa’s beginnings is perfect for every kid’s holiday library.

If you’ve looked at the bookshelves lately, you will find that there has been an explosion in the world of holiday-themed picture books for kids. There’s a tonne of wonderful new books for kids about all kinds of winter holidays, but there are few that rise above in my mind. One of these is “Little Santa” by Jon Agee.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share this book with two sets of kids. The first was a group of Montessori kids, aged 3 to 9 years, who listened with rapt attention as I shared the tale of Little Santa as he saved his family from the blizzard. They loved it, and they loved talking about what they might have done if they were in Little Santa’s shoes! The second group was a little more rowdy – a Saturday morning crowd, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Saint Nick himself at the town’s Santa Claus parade. We made our own Little Santas with skewers, fruit and marshmallows, and took photos of ourselves in a Little Santa cutout (generously provided by Penguin Canada!) – too cute for words!

What was common to both these events was the connection the kids felt to the character of Little Santa. and how they identified with how he felt different from his family. The kids loved the ingenuity of the elves (“Holy snowflakes!”) and their ability to make tools as well as toys, and they had great fun figuring out which reindeer Little Santa met on his rescue mission (overwhelming vote? Dasher).

If you’re looking for a very sweet look at what Santa might have been like as a child at the North Pole, you can’t miss this book. It’s destined to be a holiday classic for young and old alike.

Little Santa is published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller, Indigo and Kobo. ISBN: 9780803739062, 40 pages.

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