Saturday, December 29, 2018

Review - The Runaway Santa

The Runaway Santa: A Christmas Adventure Story
by Anne Margaret Lewis
illustrated by Aaron Zenz
Date: 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Once there was a jolly Santa who wanted to leave the North Pole on a worldwide vacation! He decides he wants to visit Mount Rushmore and see the stone faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Then he’ll ski the silky slopes of the Swiss Alps. And after that, he’ll ride an elephant in South Africa on a safari. Santa is eager for a new adventure, but Mrs. Claus isn’t so sure he’s ready just yet. Before he takes off, she’s going to make sure he’s got his rock climbing gear. And his skis, and his hat. He must be ready!

It isn’t long before Santa realizes that maybe his adventure would be more fun with a friend. Mrs. Claus is clearly an expert adventurer herself, and so the two take off together on a runaway adventure. They have a little time before Christmas, after all, and everybody needs a break sometimes!

(see this book on Goodreads)

Do yourself a favour and just read the Goodreads synopsis of this one. Seriously. It gives away everything, and it's much less squicky than the actual book.

I felt very uncomfortable reading this. Santa comes across as someone with the mental age of a young child, and it just feels wrong when Mrs. Claus is brought into the equation as an equal. For most of the book, she's more of a caregiver, making sure he doesn't get hurt or run into any trouble, and constantly talking to him like he's three years old: "After all, you are my jolly Santa."

Santa is insensitive (or narcissistic... I can't quite tell which) as he talks and talks and talks about all the adventures he's going to have on his vacation without Mrs. Claus. She stands by and thinks of ways to keep him safe on his travels. He doesn't seem to think it's a bit rude to gloat about this solo vacation he's going to have without his wife; in fact, his only thought about her is to think about how she'll miss him! Only at the end of the book does he decide to let her come, and then it's with the rather thoughtless line: "If you think a vacation adventure might be fun, then you may as well come with me." WTF, Santa? Is that any way to treat your wife?

Santa's in for a rude awakening when he actually goes on this trip, too. I doubt he's going to be allowed to climb Mount Rushmore with a pick axe, walk the edge of the Great Wall of China like it's a tightrope, or ride on an elephant while he's on safari in South Africa. (As Santa is imagining all of the things he'll do on vacation, we can see his wife peeking out from behind various objects in the scenes, further emphasizing that Santa needs a caregiver so he doesn't do anything too stupid.)

I guess this book could work if we assume Santa has a bad case of age-related dementia and needs 24/7 care. But then that just brings up the question of who's going to deliver the presents, and that would make for quite a confusing children's book.

Skip this one if you don't feel like trying to explain a Santa who needs a full-time caregiver.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1 out of 5


  1. Oh my...sounds like someone didn't get any cookies and milk for the holidays with this little story. Cie la vie...some holiday stories work, and some don't. Better luck next read!

    1. It's been very hit-and-miss with the holiday books this year. Mostly miss, unfortunately! (But that just makes the good ones seem even better.)