Poor Santa Claus suffers from post-Christmas letdown in this amusing and unusual look at the motivation behind Santa's drive to make everyone happy with their gifts.
On December 26, Santa takes to his bed with a bad case of the blues. The elves and reindeer try unsuccessfully to cheer him up, and finally, Mrs. Claus takes him away for a beach vacation. His depression continues, as Santa feels out of place and unneeded until he receives his first letter of the year, from a boy requesting presents for his parents and brother. With a renewed sense of mission, Santa returns to the North Pole to get started on “extra-special” gifts for the next Christmas season. Though the tone of the text is light and humorous, Santa’s concluding thoughts about the spirit of the season—“giving, caring and living as if it were Christmas every single day of the year”—elevate the story to something more substantial. Punchy illustrations stand out with simple shapes and a limited palette of red, aqua and brown printed on thick, tan paper with the look of brown-paper grocery bags.
Feeling sad after Christmas is a worthwhile concept for discussion with children, and Santa’s transformation to busy and energized provides a subtle lesson for the post-Christmas season. (Picture book. 3-6)