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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Sants's Tasty Trip Around the World. Written by M. E. Furman and illustrated by Susan Gal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2017. $ $23.99 ages 5 and up

"Santa Claus uses his magic
key to open the front door
when he visits children in
Australia. He leaves small
gifts in a sack or stocking by
their bedrooms, and their
bigger gifts under the tree.
Their gift to him is crispy,
fruit-filled "White Christmas"
treats and, because it's summer,
a cool glass of milk or beer."

Oh, my! What a lovely book this is! You can tell by looking at those beautiful, happy faces on the cover, can't you? Santa and his reindeer in the background and delicious, varied treats meant to tempt readers are a perfect invitation to turn the cover and look inside ...

A world map graces the endpapers, allowing readers to take note of where this journey will lead. It begins on Christmas Island and follows a dotted path to every continent and makes 34 stops. A short paragraph describes the variety in the traditions that are special to the country visited. Interested children will find much to learn as they make their way around the world.


Santa must be very quiet as he slips in to fill the stockings hung at the
foot of the bed in Irish homes. Like Great Britain, he'll find mince pie
and a glass of milk (and sometimes Guinness) on the table, along with a
candle that will burn all night."

I would have loved having this informative book when I was teaching. Often we talked about Christmas celebrations around the world, but not with such detail and range. The text is clear, and includes cultural language. We learn about a bit about each stop on the trip, what Santa is called and how the children treat his visit in their country. Nine recipes are included. The author also adds a note explaining that there are other traditions children might want to know. A website address is provided if individual readers, or your class, want to learn more. Go to

Susan Gal uses charcoal on paper and digital collage to create her stunning illustrations. The beauty of the various settings and the children who live there had me pausing at every turn. They say so much about the traditions being shared and are rich with texture, color and detail. The back endpapers repeat the world map, surrounded by cookies numbered to match the place where they are set out as an enticement for the special visitor.


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