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WHEN SANTA FELL TO EARTH by Cornelia Funke

WHEN SANTA FELL TO EARTH

By Cornelia Funke (Author) , Paul Howard (Illustrator) , Oliver G. Latsch (Translator)

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-78204-X
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Two children discover that Santa’s not just one person when a brightly decorated wagon crashes down in their neighborhood shortly before Christmas. Inside is Niklas Goodfellow, who explains to the astonished Ben and Charlotte that he’s the only Santa left who gives out elf-manufactured toys; all of his compatriots are either under the thumb of the plutocratic Gerold Geronimus Goblynch, who distributes only commercialized goods, or they’ve been transformed into chocolate. In illustrations that sometimes shoulder onto the next page, Howard depicts Niklas as a gent—so young that his work clothes include a false beard—who glows with kindness, and travels with three dozen surly, Keebler-like worker elves along with a pair of diminutive angels. His determination to stay in the neighborhood until Christmas leads to a final confrontation with the un-jolly Goblynch. Adding subplots in the form of a bully for Ben and loneliness for shy Charlotte, Funke engineers just deserts for Goblynch, then closes with a Christmas Day so filled with the proper spirit of wonder that even Ben’s irascible dad succumbs. The humor, plus some unusual character types, sets this apart from the general run of holiday tales. (Fantasy. 10-12)