Santa decides that one of the boys on his list, Harold, isn’t real—just a put-on by the people who are supposedly his parents—while Harold the boy doubts that Santa is real.
Just prior to Christmas, Santa is in a cranky mood because he is sure that Harold the boy has been made up to trick him. Mrs. Claus tries to calm him, but Santa grows increasingly angry and demands proof. At the same time, Harold himself is beginning to think Santa might not be real, leaving the boy cranky about the holiday. Harold decides to hide behind an armchair in his living room (where he then falls asleep). After all his toy deliveries, Santa decides to hide behind the sofa in Harold’s living room to see if Harold will come out on Christmas morning (and Santa falls asleep). In a funny climax, Santa and Harold meet with matching shrieks of “You’re real!” Computer-generated illustrations have a retro feel, with patterned backgrounds and a palette of muted pastels. This Santa is an exceptionally rotund white fellow with a huge, circular body and a gray beard. Harold’s dad is black, and his mom has brown hair and tan skin. Harold has brown hair and tan skin like his mom and big, round glasses that subtly underscore his connection to roly-poly Santa.
An amusing story with the welcome inclusion of a multiracial family. (Picture book. 4-7)