Thursday, December 14, 2006


MRS. CLAUS TAKES A VACATION by Linas Alsenas (Scholastic)
Santa may have a lot of frequent flyer miles, but in this book, it seems that the Mrs. has some catching up to do. She packs her bag for a solo adventure, basking on beaches, getting in step with folkloric dancers, developing a taste for sushi . Meanwhile, in a drastic role-swap, it is Santa's turn to stay home with the cat, glumly decking the halls and baking the gingerbread cookies sans his better half. When the wife returns, however, Santa has planned one more special trip, and has tickets for two.

Since the focus is on the married Clauses, this could easily be one of those dreaded children's books for grown-ups, and while adults really will enjoy it, it still has plenty to offer a child; lovely holiday borders frame Santa's lonely days while Mrs. Claus's magnanimous enthusiasm takes up double-page spreads, cleverly growing smaller and smaller as her taste for travel wanes. Expressive, bold and colorful acrylics illustrations are a delight on every page, and an artistic stand-out; definitely an illustration style that leaves the reader looking forward to the next book. Most of all, this book overflows with affection, and what could be more Christmassy than that? Though Mrs. Claus's adventures are necessary, well-deserved and well enjoyed, home is where her heart a lot of business- traveling parents and their children will appreciate. A truly romantic trip around the world, and a welcome glance into the private life of two most popular celebrities. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
ELF ELEMENTARY by Edward Miller (Abrams)
When my son was little, he wanted to be an elf when he grew up; well, this book reads like a training guide. Follow an elf class as they make their way through an elf school day, and check out the sidebars as plentiful as a box of ornaments throughout, offering fascinating history, trivia and information (how is the holiday celebrated around the world? Who composed "Jingle Bells"? How did candy canes and gingerbread houses originate?) that will make your reader a true Christmas expert! A fancy flocked cover and mod computer-generated red and green illustrations make this book snazzy as well as smart. An elementary choice for teachers as well. (7 and up)
HOW SANTA REALLY WORKS by Alan Snow (Atheneum) Complete with diagrams! (6 and up)
HOW SANTA GOT HIS JOB by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Simon and Schuster) Chimney cleaner, mail carrier, cook...even the man in red has to pay his dues. (5 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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