Saturday 14 March 2015

How Santa Arrived at the North Pole

How Santa Arrived at the North Pole by Fred Strassberg, illustrated by Graeme Compton (Little Steps Publishing)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN: 9781925117271
Reviewed by Anne Hamilton

This is an unusual offering for so early in the year — but ready in time for Christmas in July!

Santa, I learned to my surprise in this illustrated chapter book, had many difficulties as he began his career in delivering Christmas cheer.

After an aromatic disaster involving sleigh-hauling skunks from the Catskills, followed by a major miscalculation with their brown bear replacements, (something to do with winter hibernation), Santa packs up his toys, his elves and Mrs Claus and relocates from the good ole US of A to Africa.

Elephants. Large flappy ears. Good for flying. Tick, tick, tick. Yep, the idea works a treat until they land on the first roof. And there is no more roof. Not much house, either.

Off to Australia. Kangaroos. A little ripper of an idea. With a bound, they are off. And all is well until that long hop to England. Santa feels a little green, instead of red, and throws up indelicately in a fireplace while delivering gifts.

Back to Africa. It doesn’t take long to decide that crocodiles from the Nile are a bad idea for hauling sleighs. Camels sound perfect -- until they get upset, and spit all over Santa.

Finally, Santa lets Mrs Claus loose with a globe. She plunks down her finger - and the rest, as we all know, is history.

The bright cartoon-like illustrations in this fast-read chapter book lift the storyline. With a light, deft touch in the grossness stakes, it will appeal to boys still at the age to enjoy all the farts, vomits and spitting.

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