________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 2 . . . . September 16, 2016


The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold.

Maureen Fergus. Pictures by Cale Atkinson.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2016.
32 pp., hardcover & ebook, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-824-2 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-825-9 (ebook).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Mê-Linh Lê.

**** /4



Mrs. Claus shook her head and said, "You know what you're doing, don't you? You're looking for reasons not to believe in Harold instead of just accepting him as one of the best, most magical parts of Christmas."

Santa looked uncomfortable - and maybe even a little uncertain. But all he said was, "I know what I know."

This utterly delightful Christmas book will appeal to children and parents alike with its tongue-in-cheek humour and turned-on-its-head story. In The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold, Maureen Fergus tells the tale of how Santa has begun to doubt the existence of a little boy named Harold. How, Santa wonders, could Harold write a hand-written letter to him, leave out snacks when he could barely walk, and why did he look slightly different each time Santa saw him? It becomes obvious to Santa that Harold has been created by his parents in order to snag more gifts for themselves.

      At the very same time, Harold is going through the exact same crisis of faith - how can he believe in Santa anymore? Things just don't seem to add up.

      What Santa and Harold both need is…proof!

      As Santa and Harold both journey toward obtaining proof that the other one exists, the reader is treated to encounters with the very sensible Mrs. Claus, the funny elf Merpin, and the enabling reindeer. The resolution to the story probably won't satisfy those parents who are searching for an actual way to encourage their children to keep the belief in Christmas magic alive a little longer, but it is sweet nonetheless.

      The artwork by Cale Atkinson is perfectly suited for the story - with its bright and overstuffed illustrations. While definitely evoking Christmas colours and themes, it never feels overdone. Atkinson also does great work capturing the facial expressions of all the characters.

      As an added bonus, for those readers who (like this librarian) always read the copyright page, they will no doubt be charmed by the way the typically dry information is conveyed. For example, the Acquiring Elf, Editing Elf, and Designing Elf are named, and the artwork is noted as being created in Santa's Workshop with Photoshop. These little details just for the parents are a great touch.

      All in all, a great story that both parents and children will enjoy this holiday season.

Highly Recommended.

Mê-Linh Lê is a librarian at the University of Manitoba. She spends a lot of time negotiating "How many books?" with her two young sons.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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