This year Santa is in a big hurry with his Christmas Eve deliveries. In fact, he’s so rushed that he is delivering packages by helicopter.
He dashes up to each house, takes a quick peek in the window, and tosses in a present for the sleeping animal or child with an accompanying comment in a speech balloon. The windows are die-cut shapes in the right-hand pages, with each one revealing just a small portion of the sleeping resident. After the first present is delivered, Santa’s snap judgements go awry, as he mistakes a dinosaur’s plates for the ears of a fox, rows of bunny ears for a crocodile’s teeth, and so on. After the die-cut page is turned, the reader can see what the animal really is, but Santa is blissfully unaware. Young readers will love knowing more than Santa does. A delightful finale finds all the animals and one boy enjoying their presents, which all work out just fine in the end. Gomi’s understated illustrations use geometric shapes, deep, saturated colors, and the cleverly placed window die-cuts to give the story added dimension. This Santa is an older Asian man with a white mustache and a deep pink suit. The only other human character is an Asian boy with dark tan skin and black hair.
There’s a subtle lesson here to slow down and evaluate before making a decision. But with this book, a snap judgement holds up—it’s a winner. (Picture book. 2-7)