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THE SOLDIERS’ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Trish Holland

THE SOLDIERS’ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

By Trish Holland (Author) , Christine Ford (Author) , John Manders (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-83795-7
Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Using the familiar structure of the classic Christmas poem, Holland and Ford offer a witty parody that serves up a unique vision of a Santa who is very different from the traditional St. Nick. A young soldier serving as the narrator sees Sergeant McClaus arrive on base in a Blackhawk helicopter, followed by eight Christmas-green Humvees decked out in gold tinsel and twinkling lights. This commanding figure stands 6’6” in his camouflage uniform and red Santa hat, with a stub of cigar instead of a pipe. He and his drivers bring in sea bags filled with gifts for the soldiers: homemade goodies, phone cards, photos from home and artwork from children. The gifts are quickly deposited in helmets and boots, and then with a sharp salute and some hearty ho-ho-hos, Sergeant McClaus and his convoy take off for their next stop with a wish for peace for all. Jazzy illustrations in a cartoon style bring the military characters to life, especially the craggy-faced Sergeant McClaus. This will be popular with children who like brash superheroes, as well as with families and friends of those serving in the military. (Picture book. 5+)