A philanthropic family visits New York City and helps many local residents in DeLand’s (Baby Santa and the Missing Reindeer, 2013, etc.) latest children’s-book installment.
What place is more exciting for a family than the Big Apple at Christmastime? When the Bond family decides to visit the city for the holiday, they have more in mind than just seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and taking in a show at Radio City Music Hall (although they do those things, too). Accompanied by Baby Santa, a young version of Santa Claus, the Bonds visit a local soup kitchen to help feed those who are short on food, and “everyone is thankful of this good deed.” They go to a children’s hospital to pass out toys to children, bring treats and puppy food to a local animal rescue, and sing Christmas carols at a senior center. However, there’s also room for a little fun, and the family and Baby Santa have a few classic New York moments—marveling at a museum’s exhibits, remarking on the supreme architecture of Grand Central Station, and staying at the St. Regis Hotel. At the end, the family is satisfied, body and soul, by their memorable journey. DeLand’s work is, in a word, charming. In this book, which is sure to become a seasonal favorite, the author perfectly outlines what the holiday season is all about in a way that even young children will understand. After all, what good is receiving nice things if one doesn’t know what it feels like to give them? DeLand also makes clear that life doesn’t have to be all fun or all work: the Bonds “make a family happy” by helping to build a Habitat for Humanity–style home for them, but they also take in a ballet, watching “dancers twirl and soldiers march.” Illustrator Wilson’s images are bright and engaging, driving the plot forward while also providing a glimpse of how magical New York is during the holidays. This book is the perfect antidote to the commercial frenzy of Christmas, and children and adults will enjoy reading it together.
A reminder that the best part of the holiday season isn’t getting, but giving.