THE REAL SANTA CLAUS by Marianna Mayer

THE REAL SANTA CLAUS

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

The life of the real St. Nicholas, patron saint of brides, young boys, and seafarers, is laid out in episodic text and artwork. While St. Nicholas’s generosity led people to celebrate his feast day long before Dr. Clement Moore penned his famous poem, he is largely unknown to most people today. His beneficence began when he heard of a father who could no longer support his three unwed daughters. By throwing bags of money through an open window on three successive nights, he provided the sisters with the dowry they needed to wed, and saved them from being sold into slavery. On almost every page, the reader learns of miraculous occurrences associated with St. Nicholas—from discovering the murderer of three young boys and bringing them back to life, to a time he fed the people during a famine in an event very like the Bible story of the loaves and fishes. Although the text shows several “Santas,” the main focus is on the life of the saint, not on the transition in popularity from St. Nicholas to Santa Claus. The luminous illustrations are reproductions of paintings done in the 13th through 16th centuries. The vibrant pictures glow with an illuminated manuscript-type quality rarely seen in books meant for children. Unfortunately, they are not captioned, but rather listed in the back and indexed by page number—a difficult system when the pages of the book are themselves not numbered. Nonetheless, Mayer’s (The Twelve Apostles, not reviewed, etc.) work is a wonderful tribute to the saint whose generosity is celebrated every year. (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8037-2624-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001




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