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Saturday, December 12, 2015

How to Catch Santa, written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish. Alfred A. Knopf, Random House. 2015. $20.99 ages 4 and up


Santa doing stretches on
your neighbor's roof
Sleigh bells
Reindeer whinnying
in the distance
Elves giggling

"Ho, Ho, HO!"

Do your kids need advice for capturing Santa when Christmas Eve rolls around in just a few weeks? If they do, and they share the wacky imagination of other 'how-to' books such as How To Babysit a Grandma, How to Babysit a Grandpa and How to Surprise Dad, they will want to see this book.

The front endpapers are festooned with lively, often humorous request letters to the jolly man himself. Dad asks again for 'anything but socks'. The title page shows two young children trying to net Santa as he leads them on a merry chase. They have waited a long time for this night ... finally, they have the opportunity to use their best skills to catch him.

As the author sets out to provide clear instructions that might help, she also allows for a chance to ask him some important questions:

"How do you stay clean?

How do you squeeze down chimneys?

What about houses with no chimneys?

How fast do reindeer fly to get everywhere in one night?"

The list goes on and include many of the wonders that children have about Santa. Then, she suggests that there are facts they might like to share, things that they might give him, and even some wild suggestions for capture. Readers are sure to be entertained and intrigued. They will, no doubt, have some ideas of their own.

Great fun to boost the holiday spirits and encourage kids to think outside the box ... always with kindness in mind. Don't miss the thank you letters that can be found on the back endpapers. They add to the shared fun!

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