Wal-Mart started putting Christmas trees on display weeks ago, so I guess it's not too early for a Christmas book! Linda Bailey has added a new title to the every-growing list of Christmas books, When Santa Was a Baby. Along with illustrator Genevieve Godbout, Bailey takes us back to Santa's childhood. He was an exceptional baby, with merry dimples and a nose like a cherry. He enjoyed giving his birthday presents away to children in the neighborhood. He showed an interest in fireplaces, extreme cold, flying reindeer, and always insisted on wearing the color red.
Godbout's illustrations look great, giving an "instant classic" feel to the book. Bailey's text is full of references to traditional Santa lore. I was, however, left unsatisfied with the transition from "Santa as a child" to "Santa as we all know and love him." One moment, Santa's in high school, wearing his red jacket, with a sack slung over his shoulder. The next moment, "he followed his childhood dreams," setting up shop at the North Pole. I know it's a children's book, but that still seemed like a huge jump with no explanation.
Maybe I'm quibbling. I do like When Santa Was a Baby. I'm just not sure it will work its way into a list of Christmas favorites to be read again and again.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!