THE BEARER OF GIFTS by Kenneth Steven
Kirkus Star


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Santa Claus as a Sami woodcarver? Why not, suggests Steven in this affable concoction that finds a Laplander in Bethlehem. A woodcarver spends the long Arctic nights fashioning useful items from wood, but one winter notices a star that has appeared, bigger than any he has ever seen. As winter dwindles, the woodcarver harnesses his reindeer and follows the star, all the way to that well-known manger, bartering his carved objects along the way. By the time he locates the manger, all he has left is a wooden star. This he gives to the child: ""It is all I have, but I give it in thanks for finding you. I shall never forget this night."" In the child's presence, the woodcarver's tattered homespun is transformed into a familiar-looking red outfit. Then it is back to Lapland to start a tradition of midwinter giving. Steven's notion of Santa Claus as a Sami is as logical as any other about this legendary figure, and certainly explains origins of the reindeer, sleigh, and deep cold north where he works. Moon's visually appealing illustrations are remote and stylized; they don't offer any close-ups of the interesting character found in Steven's tale, but delightfully chart his travels.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 26pp
Publisher: Dial