________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 5. . . .October 2, 2015


When Santa Was a Baby.

Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Genevičve Godbout.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover & ebook, $19.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-556-2 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-558-6 (ebook).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 2-7.

Review by Jill Griffith.

**** /4



“His clothes are all covered in ashes and soot.”
“We can wash them,” said his mom.
“Isn’t it great that he’s so curious?”
“Maybe he’ll be a scientist,” said his dad.


Who knew that Santa had a mom and dad? Or a childhood! Well indeed he did, and his parents were delighted as he grew from a baby with a cherry nose, to a toddler with a booming voice and a penchant for red and neighbourhood charity, to a teenager with a round belly who eschews peer pressure. When Santa Was a Baby is the story of Santa’s earlier years, explaining his love of the cold, the colour red, elves and reindeer.

     The format, thanks to Genevičve Godbout’s muted coloured pencil illustrations, resembles an old fashioned family album, lending an air of nostalgia to the book. Picture beautiful red endpapers and even a built in gift tag that suggests this book as a wonderful Christmas gift. The most delightful thing about this story is the gentle humour that comes through in both the text and illustrations. The eight hamsters pulling a matchbox are wonderful. Adults will love the “where did he get that idea” concept because really, doesn’t every child come up with wild and wacky ideas? This time, though, the ideas aren’t so far fetched because every child knows that Santa can do anything!

     I wish I could share the final page with review readers because it’s the best page of all. (Warning: Spoiler). The story ends with Genevičve Godbout illustrating a still life with a pitcher of milk, a plate of chocolate chip cookies, and a note that says “to Santa, Love Mom & Dad.” Awwwww!

     I see that multiple award winning author Linda Bailey knows a little bit about Christmas babies because her daughter was born on Christmas Eve, and so who better to write a story about Santa’s growing up, and both she and illustrator Genevičve Godbout did it beautifully. When Santa Was a Baby will be a new Christmas tradition in many households.

Highly Recommended.

Jill Griffith is the Youth Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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