CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2000
"N is for North Pole. Santa's workshop is at the North Pole in an area called the Arctic. The North Pole is a very cold place, full of ice and snow. Why would such a jolly man want to live in such a chilly place? Santa lives at the North Pole because this part of the world does not belong to any country. Instead, Santa belongs to the children of the world! Can you name any animals that live at the North Pole with Santa?"As the title suggests, this Bobbie Kalman book is an alphabetical exploration of some aspects of the legend of Santa Claus. Overall, the written treatment of this mythic figure is superficial, providing the reader with commonplace information about Santa's being jolly, having elves for helpers, and appearing in an annual parade. The only exceptions are brief mentions of Santa's possible origins as either a Turkish bishop, St. Nicholas, or the German Christmas angel, Christkindl. With its craft ideas, writing activities, and discussion suggestions, the text is aimed at a school audience. Readers will be assisted by a table of contents, a glossary and an index.
The alphabetical entries are accompanied by beautiful vintage illustrations of Santa Claus. Even though the book's format is primarily that of a picture book, the bright, detailed illustrations would appeal to an older, sophisticated audience. Each set of illustrations complements its accompanying text and, in many cases, strengthens it. For example, there are several illustrations which depict the different ethnic costumes of Santa Claus.
For a collection with many titles about Santa Claus and Christmas, this one is not necessary since it would add little but pretty pictures.
Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, NF.