Friday, December 20, 2019

Review - Santa's Secret

Santa's Secret
by Denise Brennan-Nelson
illustrated by Deborah Melmon
Date: 2019
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Everyone knows that when Christmas rolls around Santa employs a legion of helpers to ensure the season goes off without a hitch. But between the Santas on parade, the Santas at the malls, and the ones ringing bells in front of busy department intrepid investigator wants to know exactly WHO the real Santa is. Armed with a notebook, pencil, and a barrage of questions, can this young detective get to the bottom of Santa's secret?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Setting aside the weird e-book conversion (words starting with "fl" were messed up, resulting in words like "flfloat" and "flfly"), this is actually a pretty fun story concerning a question that a lot of kids might have at this time of year: With all the different Santas out there, how do you know which is the real one?

Told in rhyme, the story documents a little girl's search for the truth. She comes up with all sorts of questions to ask Santa when she sees him, hoping to tease out the truth. But that particular Santa doesn't seem to have the answers she's looking for, so she leaves her list with him and goes on her way. After her visit, she visits a coffee shop with her family, only to see a suspiciously jolly customer sitting in the corner... who seems to have all the answers she's been seeking. Is he the real thing? Is it really important to know... or is it more fun to let Santa have his secrets?

The illustrations are cute and colourful, and really capture the pre-Christmas chaos. I like how the answer the girl's been seeking is hinted at but not explicitly stated, leaving readers to make up their own minds. As kids get older and start to see a variety of Santas, they might start asking similar questions about his identity. This story shows that it's not really important; after all, Santa's helpers do an important job, too. It's the idea of Santa and what he does that's key... and that message is what makes this book a sweet Christmas read.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 3/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.71 out of 5

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