Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Mr. and Mrs. Claus live at the North Pole with their children—Larry, Mary, Willy, Millie, Joey, Zoe, and Santa. Life's not easy, what with the constant chores. Only little Santa (decked out in a red-hooded onesie) savors both the work and the fun of living in a snowy land. Also, he likes sliding down the sooty chimney. Finally, the Claus family has had enough. They are moving to Florida—until a blizzard snows them in. It's up to Santa to climb up the chimney and get help, first in the form of a flying reindeer and then from a houseful of elves. The story itself is amusing, albeit a bit thin, but the pictures are flat-out wonderful. A clever oversize design gives the pages importance, and the art has the same scope and vision. Using a mostly snow-white background (natch), Agee sets up his thickly outlined characters to fill the pages. The scope of the artwork allows readers to see all sorts of clever details. In one inventively packed picture of the elves at work, viewers are able to pick out Santa only by his red hood. In fact, most of the funny moments come in the art, as when Santa initially spies the reindeer, and he is buried so deep in the snow that he thinks the animal's horns are a tree branch. Thanks to the short text and big pictures, this will be especially fine for holiday story hours. Make it a tradition! Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Little Santa's family, tired of the Arctic climate, has decided to move to Florida when a blizzard snows them in; Santa escapes by going up the chimney and bringing a reindeer and some elves to the rescue. When the Clauses move, Santa stays behind, "and you know the rest." Crisp storytelling, bold lines, and expert page turns are highlights of this original origin story.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

It's easy to distinguish Santa from his parents and six siblings (Larry, Mary, Willy, Millie, Joey, Zoe). They're all much older, and depressed as only Agee grownups can be; Santa's the happy little one in the brick-red romper who loves nothing more than sliding down the chimney. The Clauses have decided to hang it up and move to Florida when a blizzard snows them in, and it's a good thing Santa can go up the chimney as well, as he escapes and brings a reindeer and some hard-working elves to the rescue. The Clauses still move to Florida, but Santa stays behind with his new friends, "and you know the rest of the story." Agee makes this origin story seem right and true, and the North Pole setting was made for his particular genius with white space. Crisp storytelling, bold lines, and expert page turns make the book ideal for group sharing—and kids will be asking for it all year round. roger sutto Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

How did Santa become Santa? Agee's inspired account of the jolly man's boyhood offers some clues. Though Santa's miserable parents and six older siblings want to trade their tough North Pole life for the warmth of Florida, young Santa can't imagine leaving the place he loves. He delights in making snowmen, decorating pine trees, and, yes, sliding down the chimney. When a huge blizzard threatens the Clauses' relocation plans, Santa, in his snappy hooded red jumpsuit, swings into action, enlisting a few new friends: a high-flying reindeer, and a houseful of hardworking elves. Agee's lighthearted tone, sly jokes, and signature simple shapes with thick, black outlines capture a joyful kid sharing his sense of wonder. Ages 3–5. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 2—When the cold, harsh environment of the North Pole becomes too much for the Clauses, they decide to move to Florida, though Little Santa will miss playing in the snow. The move is put on hold, however, when a sudden blizzard renders the family snowbound. Shimmying up the chimney to find help, Little Santa meets a friendly flying reindeer and a house full of elves, who merrily assist in the rescue. Having such handy, cheerful friends makes life a lot easier, but the family still heads for Florida the following winter. Little Santa stays behind and the rest is history. The matter-of-fact style of the narrative pairs well with Agee's signature humorous cartoon illustrations. No doubt this amusing explanation of Santa's humble beginnings will be enthusiastically received at holiday storytimes.—Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library

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