A little boy named Santa grows up with definite tastes of his own in this humorous story about the origins of Santa Claus.
Even as a baby, little Santa is developing into his own person. He already has dimples and a cute little nose, “like a cherry.” (Bailey effortlessly weaves recognizable snatches of “The Night Before Christmas” into the text throughout the book.) He doesn’t coo like other babies—he just starts talking with a bold “HO, HO, HO!” Santa’s supportive parents love everything about him, so they let him wear red clothes and allow him to give away his birthday presents to his friends. Little Santa trains a family of hamsters to pull a matchbox sleigh, and he is very interested in the chimney and the ashes in the fireplace. As Santa gets older, he and his much shorter best friend, green-clad Eldred, like to make toys together. The final pages of the understated, witty story show Santa growing into his adult life, fulfilling all his childhood interests and dreams. The last page shows cookies and milk left out for Santa Claus with a note from his still-doting parents. Simple illustrations with white backgrounds use textured surfaces and blurred edges that provide a nostalgic feel of remembered childhood. Young Santa shows characteristics that he will still have as an adult, including his round belly and jocular wave.
There have been several recent stories about Santa’s origins, but this one is the shortest and simplest, accessible to the youngest of Santa’s fans. (Picture book. 3-7)