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HOW SANTA LOST HIS JOB by Stephen Krensky


by Stephen Krensky & illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83173-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Assembly-line workers are being replaced by machines—but Santa? That’s just what Muckle the elf has in mind. Annoyed at Santa’s last-minute changes and the inefficiency of the whole setup, he decides there must be a better way. Behind the text boxes, readers can see the incredibly detailed blueprints for Muckle’s wondrous new machine, the Deliverator. In lighting speed it matches children’s letters with a gift. It can travel around the world in one night, and zip up and down chimneys to make deliveries. But Clara, the mail carrier, has her doubts that the Deliverator can do everything that Santa does. After all, who will eat the milk and cookies, and who really knows the children as well as Santa? Predictably, a glitch causes the Deliverator to fail—and during the most hectic year of all. But the uncomplaining elves have learned that Christmas is not about a schedule, rather about caring, something that can’t be programmed into a computer. And Santa makes a couple of changes of his own: the elves now track orders from a bank of computers in the workroom. However, his other major change—marriage to Mrs. Claus at the finale—seems not to fit in with the flow of the story. Krensky (Shooting for the Moon, p. 802, etc.) has crafted a tale with an obvious lesson, but somehow this does not detract. Rather, it highlights the importance of personal attention and the “little things” in the celebration of Christmas. This is a wonderful complement to Krensky’s first Santa book, How Santa Got His Job (1998), which documents the job experiences and skills that make him perfect for the position. Schindler’s (The Cod’s Tale, p. 1294, etc.) drawings are masterworks of detail, from the reindeer snitching cookies in Santa’s kitchen, to the steam coming from Muckle’s head as he has to reprogram the Deliverator. Keep on truckin’, Santa. (Picture book. 4-7)