Monday, December 15, 2014
Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole, written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Chuck Groenink. Carolrhoda Books, 2014. $19.95 ages 4 and up
Kisses from Mrs.
Claus under the mistletoe
tickle like snowflakes."
You will have to wait until next year to bring out your copy of Santa Clauses to use as a memorable and most enjoyable advent calendar. One haiku for each day, all written by Santa himself. Don't let that stop you from reading the whole thing at one go right now!
Bob Raczka paints a picture of the man himself in an introduction before we begin his daily poetic diary:
"Santa is a man of many talents. He's a
toymaker, a reindeer trainer, a sleigh
pilot, and a world traveler. But did you
know that he is also a poet ...
...Now you can peek at Santa's haiku,
one for each day from December 1 to
December 25, and catch a glimpse of life
at the North Pole. Hear the snow crunch.
Smell the gingerbread. And see a side of
Santa you've never seen before."
Each of the poems is a little piece of Santa's daily endeavors in the days leading up to his journey from house to house bringing joy to boys and girls around the world. We are invited inside for some of the events, and also made welcome in the great outdoors through Santa's descriptive, thoughtful observances. Seems that Santa and the Mrs. partake in a number of activities that reflect what many children love to do ... making snow angels, wrapping presents, watching the night sky, listening to old favorite songs on the radio, mistletoe kisses (ewww!) and hot chocolate.
One of my personal favorites is this one:
Sitting by the fire
reading "A Christmas Carol,"
listening for ghosts."
Santa is reading, Mrs. Claus is basking in the warmth of the fire and the family cats, while tiny elves listen in from the darkness that surrounds them.
Each poem is placed with care on single and double spreads, allowing ample room for Chuck Groenink's wonderful illustrations to shine. The palette is subdued, the images speak to a time in the past, and the quiet tone make this a perfect bedtime read, adding one new poem each night until you read through the entire book for Christmas Day.
Amidst the craziness that is often our lead up to Christmas, this quiet, joyful book shows children that the season can be comfortable while also celebratory. It is sure to become one of our new favorites! If you have a cup of hot chocolate at the ready and a warm and cozy blanket, you are fully prepared to sit contentedly and bask in the beauty of both words and art. Enjoy!