Reviews for Santa from Cincinnati


Booklist Reviews 2012 November #1
*Starred Review* Sure, Santa lives at the North Pole now, but he has to come from somewhere, right? And he does. According to the powerhouse team of Barrett and Hawkes, he is Cincinnati born and bred, and the signs pointing to his bright future were always there. Told from Santa's point of view, this recounts his birth on December 25th (he is the only baby in the nursery wearing a pointy red cap); talks about his early jovial disposition diagnosis; discusses his cotton-ball beard; and describes his dad, who made toys in the basement. The story continues on from there, as Santa's toys overflow his bedroom and are subsequently given away to neighborhood children. Santa heads off to a very special kind of college, before settling down with Mrs. Claus. Barrett hasn't left any stone unturned in imagining Santa's childhood days, and the first-person narration gives the whole thing a tongue-in-cheek vibe. Obviously, Hawkes had so much to play with here, and he extends the fun at all times. There's the Polaroid snapshots of would-be Santa trying to pursue other interests and joining a rock band called Santa and His Reindeer and others depicting Mr. and Mrs. Claus' rejected potential homes (one is captioned Lighthouse. Not righthouse). Kids are going to want to add this one to their Christmas lists. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2012 December
'Round the Christmas tree

When our kids were little, one of the traditions of the Christmas season was unpacking the ornaments and books. Yes, books. These books were only for December and were as important to the season as the plastic icicles and handmade tree skirt from Aunt Dee Dee. We added new books every year and, if I still had little children living in my house, I would add several new ones from this year’s crop.

Those looking for books that reflect the biblical Christmas story will not be disappointed. Three veterans are back with their take on the Nativity.

Tomie dePaola’s tender, simple tale will delight young children with a bird’s-eye view of the big day in The Birds of Bethlehem. Talking among themselves, the birds tell of the unusual, strange, spectacular, awesome and miraculous event they see. These adjectives are unveiled as the story develops, building a sense of quiet drama. DePaola’s respectful but accessible illustrations add to the story, making this a book that will be enjoyed over and over again.

When he was bouncing along the roads in Africa, Ashley Bryan thought of Mary and Joseph on the road to Bethlehem and wrote a simple poem that examines the question of Who Built the Stable? Lushly illustrated in gouache and tempera paints, this special volume will encourage readers to imagine some of the lesser players in the story.

Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrator Stephen Alcorn collaborate for the gentle Mary’s Song. On one hand, this is a love song to new motherhood and, on the other, it’s the familiar story of baby Jesus and his family. Alcorn’s oversized illustrations in cross-hatched mixed media set the perfect tone as the young mother Mary looks for quiet time with her baby boy. Ahh.

A HOLLY, JOLLY CHRISTMAS

Christmas is also about presents and Santa and reindeer—and there are many new books tha[Mon Sep 1 22:36:09 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. t celebrate this part of the holiday, too!

One of the sweetest is Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. After finding a sumptuous bolt of red fabric, the king has a lovely cloak sewn for his daughter. The sewing maids leave the scraps outside on the steps where they are found by the kitchen maid, who uses the material to make a jacket for her mother. The scraps are passed on and on until the last little bit is used as a scarf for a mouse. This celebration of generosity and making things by hand feels “just right” for the holidays.

Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have a small cottage industry going with books about dinosaurs. Their two newest are sure to become family favorites: How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? and How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? It’s fun to see how Yolen and Teague make connections between these two books (mom is knitting in both, the dinosaurs all kiss their grandparents, etc.) but still give each holiday’s traditions its own spotlight. As always, these dinosaur books are more humor than lesson and are the perfect way for little people to laugh at naughtiness.

Another fabulous dinosaur series is Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs., which pits a red dinosaur against such adversaries as “bedtime” and “the potty.” This time it’s Dinosaur vs. Santa. The dinosaur is like an energetic preschooler, just learning to control himself. It’s impossible to read this book without laughing. I mean, the dinosaur is wearing all varieties of Christmas sweaters and pajamas! But, of course, that’s not all. Dinosaur growls and roars his way through the joys and jobs of the season: writing to Santa, decorating the tree, being extra good and even going to bed on Christmas Eve. When Dinosaur sneaks downstairs to investigate the sounds of jingle bells, readers will worry right along with him: “Did Santa see you? Will he put you on the Naughty list?” The final reassuring turn of the page answers these important questions.

YOUNG SANTA

Santa from Cincinnati, written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, has the feel of a classic tale that could become a family favorite. Barrett (of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fame) cleverly imagines the childhood of Santa Claus, told as a remembrance from Santa himself. In a scene from the hospital nursery, there is smiling baby Claus, wrapped in a bright red blanket, his nose round and red. Every page holds a treat for children who know the story of the grownup Santa. Here we see baby Santa playing with a reindeer and snowman mobile, and later we see family pictures celebrating his first words (“ho, ho, ho”), first steps (in dad’s big black boots) and favorite snack (cookies). It’s hard to imagine a Christmas-crazy kid not falling hard for this one . . . and imagining the childhoods of other holiday icons.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
According to this satisfying origin story, Santa's just a guy blessed with a "jovial disposition," an "obsession with toys," an inventive mind, and a generous nature. His first-person narration is plainspoken with touches of folksiness, taking readers from babyhood through his early schooling, college, and beyond. Hawkes's vibrant acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations capture the simpler-times family sensibility and the story's winking, tall-tale elements.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
It's Santa Claus the prequel in this witty exploration of Santa's younger years. Santa narrates the story himself, starting with his birth on December 25 in Cincinnati to a normal couple who spotted his first name in a bowl of alphabet soup. His preferences and interests as a child are often indicated in Hawkes' illustrations; as a newborn he's wrapped in a red blanket with a tiny Santa cap, and as a little boy, he totes around a pillowcase full of stuffed reindeer toys. Santa and his father build toys together in his basement, and as a young man, Santa starts giving toys away every Christmas Eve. Each aspect of Santa's character is addressed, so that his current persona seems a logical result of his younger years. A large trim size with expansive double-page spreads lets the acrylic-and–colored-pencil illustrations shine, and lots of the laugh-out-loud humor is presented in the art. And of course, lots of children in Cincinnati will expect to find this under the tree on Christmas morning, a gift from their new hometown hero. The droll, understated wit of the text and the delightfully comical, skillfully planned illustrations make this a story that will delight both children and adult readers. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2

Everyone knows Santa lives at the North Pole, but readers may be surprised to discover that Santa was born and raised in Cincinnati. In this clever picture book memoir, Santa looks back at his early diagnosis of a "jovial disposition," his penchants for tinkering and toy-building, his early efforts to provide the kids of Cincinnati with Christmas gifts, his college years, and beyond. Filling in the details of Santa's upbringing is an inventive premise, and readers will enjoy learning about Santa when he was just a redheaded boy with a cowlick and a fondness for beards. Hawkes's acrylics brim with humorous details, including scrapbook-style family photos of a young redheaded Santa hugging his toy reindeer, playing guitar, and tooling around in a convertible. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr 1-3--Barrett explains Santa's origins in the form of a personal memoir, complete with appealing scrapbook-style "photo" layouts. It's no surprise that Santa was jolly from birth, always loved cookies, and uttered "ho, ho, ho" as his first words. But who knew that his dad made toys in a basement workshop and that the annual toy distribution was a way to declutter the house? Actually, Santa's life was more normal than one might guess. He played baseball, joined a rock band, held various part-time jobs, learned to drive, and even attended the high school prom. It was in college, where he met the future Mrs. Claus, as well as his future employees, the elves, that his career destiny solidified. His thriving enterprise continues to this day, and, though he's a bit older and rounder, he keeps up with the trends. Kids needn't fear any missed deliveries because Santa's sleigh is now jet-propelled and equipped with a GPS! Clever and original, the story is made even more appealing by the dynamic acrylic paintings. Hawkes is a master of at rendering expressive faces and humorous details. A surefire hit for holiday storytimes.--Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library

[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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