Ever wondered what Santa does when it's not Christmas? Perhaps you'll find him where you least expect! Featuring Santa, reindeer, a Christmas tree angel, elves, nutcrackers and gingerbread families, this is a very merry Christmas surprise for all to unwrap!
"What Does Santa Do When It's Not Christmas?" is a book that relies heavily on high quality, beautifully detailed pictures rather than too many words. On first glance I thought it would be a quick bedtime story read for a pre-schooler, but I could not have been more wrong! There is a wealth of graphic detail on each page, so much so that you could almost do without any words at all. And just to make things more interesting, there are random Christmas mice hiding on each page - three-year-old and I had fun finding them.
Although the theme of the book is the age-old Santa story, there are some wonderful modern touches which make it relevant for children today. There are little educational snippets here and there like learning that ice melts in hot weather and sharing ideas by brainstorming in a group, but they are woven so well into the story that Miss Three did not realise she was acquiring useful knowledge while enjoying herself!
There is the occasional line from the old favourite "Santa Claus is coming to town", and this meant there was some impromptu singing - another learning opportunity but also most enjoyable. Even the endpapers are festive - they are designed to look like Christmas wrapping paper.
The story is largely told through rhyme, a convention which children enjoy as they can chime in with the last word of each stanza. But even this touch is changed when, part way through the book, Santa gets tired of rhyming and so there is suddenly a page that has the last word left off. Of course, there is a logical word that can be added to complete the sentence, and three-year-old guessed it immediately.
I loved the energy, colour and sheer joy of this book. It is a magic journey into Santa's lifestyle which is destined to be read over and over again each Christmas. Every child should have a copy! Come to think of that, so should every adult...
This book is very different to any other Christmas book I have read before. My initial reaction was that I didn't know if I liked it or not. It wasn't one of those books that made me fall in love with it straight away. I felt that the book deserved some effort on my part to read through it several times so I could give a more educated view on it. Different doesn't need to mean bad, it just means that it can challenge us to think outside the square a bit.
The author of this book has definitely thought outside the square. There is a technological slant on christmas and is a modern view of Christmas. There a lots of parts in the book which children these days would appreciate and relate to more so that the traditional view on Christmas. Computers, online ordering, trends and a flash version of Santa's sleigh are some of the things in the book which are not in our common understanding of ideas surrounding Santa and the Elves. Attempt to make Christmas relevant to children today so rather than traditional version of Santa stories.
The reading of the book took quite a bit of time with the children. There was lots to look at on each page and Mr Four had lots to say. I think that children even older than this would get a lot out of the book (perhaps more than a four year old) as they would relate to both the traditional view and this modern version of Santa. I think that there could be quite a few giggles as they read it.
The book could be used for a little behaviour modification and to show children how important it is to behave. The book talks about how someone could be santa in disguise and that we don't know where he goes on holidays. We used this part of the book to discuss with Mr Four his recent behaviour and how Santa could be watching him at any time.
Mr Four loved looking at each page of the mice which are hidden throughout the book. This was a fun addition to the reading of the book.
There is some humour near the end about how the Dasher and Dancer are too tired to rhyme. brighter and older children will think that is very funny. It also adds a little humour of the adults who read the book to children.
So, where do I stand on this book after reading it several times with an open mind. I think that I like it now! Change is hard for all of us and I, like most others in the world will have strong opinions about Christmas stories. I absolutely appreciate the thought that would have gone into the book from the authors point of view and would like to acknowledge that.
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