Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DEAR SANTA by Bill Harley


The Letters of James B. Dobbins

by Bill Harley & illustrated by R.W. Alley

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-623778-5
Publisher: HarperCollins

Jimmy Dobbins is a young hockey player who has been very good all year—or so he tells Santa in a letter with a long list of gift requests. Subsequent letters from Jimmy to Santa throughout the month of December gradually reveal a hilarious litany of the previous year’s various mischievous incidents at home and at school, along with ongoing sibling squabbles with a younger sister (“the most annoying four-year-old sister on the planet”). The text is told entirely through these letters to Santa, set in a typeface that looks like a child’s printing on various kinds of notebook and memo paper. The droll humor of the text is reflected in Alley’s cheery illustrations that capture both Jimmy’s exuberant antics and earnest attempts at being well-behaved prior to the holiday. By the final page, Jimmy’s gift requests have dwindled to just a pair of skates and a hockey stick, with a sincere note (shown held in Santa’s mittens) and a heart-felt gift of a hockey puck left out for Santa. There’s a lot packed into this holiday package: humorous action, subtle humor and growth in the main character, all wrapped up with authentic reasons for a child to write persuasively. (Picture book. 4-8)