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Friday, December 18, 2015

When Santa Was a Baby, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Genevieve Godbout. Tundra Books, Random House. 2015. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"The years went by,
and Santa grew older.
He began to learn his
colors. Right from the
start, he liked red best.
"What about these dandy
blue pajamas from Aunt
Mabel?" said his mom.

Santa shook his head.
"Want red!"

Have you ever thought about Santa's parents? Or, do you think that magical beings just appear? Linda Bailey put her imagination to work and brings us a story of Santa as a baby, a toddler, a child and a teenager - all those times in his life that led him to his true calling. What wonder awaits!

His parents loved his dimples and his cherry nose. They were surprised, to say the least, when his loud HO! HO! HO! replaced any other tiny baby's giggle. He was happy, strong and very, very special. He was unwilling to wear anything that wasn't made in his favorite color -red. After opening all of his birthday presents, he especially loved re-wrapping them and giving them away. Oh, so generous! For another birthday he wanted a reindeer. His parents couldn't understand his request, so they got him a hamster. And so it goes!

It is no surprise that this charming child grows up to be Santa Claus. Each year brings new discoveries about those things that he loves, and an explanation for who he will become. Children will be delighted to learn the backstory of Santa's journey to Christmas elf extraordinaire. It is sure to become a family treasure and tradition after sharing it this year ... a book to be passed along to future generations.                                                                  

The pastel and colored pencil illustrations make the reader feel as if they are sharing a family photo album, watching the child grow and prosper under the loving care of his astonished and accepting parents. The humor is gentle, the emotions evident and the nostalgia is touching. Young listeners are sure to have their favorites, and will want to return for a closer look again and again.

This is a winner!

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