Growing into the Job: Little Santa by Jon Agee
AT THE NORTH POLE, IN A LITTLE CABIN, LIVED MR. AND MRS. CLAUS AND THEIR SEVEN CHILDREN, LARRY, MARY, WILLIE, MILLIE, JOEY, ZOE, AND SANTA.
LIFE WAS TOUGH IN THE NORTH POLE. THE CLAUSES WERE MISERABLE.
EXCEPT FOR SANTA.
HE LOVED MAKING SNOW ANGELS, DECORATING PINE TREES, AND MAKING GINGERBREAD COOKIES IN THE SHAPE OF PEOPLE.
MOST OF ALL HE LIKED SLIDING DOWN THE CHIMNEY.
Finally, after a particularly hardknock winter, the Claus family had had it with chopping wood and ice fishing. Father Claus declares that they are moving to Florida.
Everyone is on board with the plan except Little Santa. He loves everything about the North Pole. But before they can load up and head south, an incredibly icy snowstorm buries their little house all the way up to the chimney top. It looks like nobody is going any where until the summer thaw.
But Little Santa, adorably attired in his little red onesie with a pointy hoodie, has a suggestion:
"I CAN SHIMMY UP THE CHIMNEY," SAID SANTA.
Little Santa scoots and wiggles his way up and climbs out into the deep snow, heading off to find help.
The first thing he sees is a reindeer, who offers him a lift and turns out to be able to fly, when necessity requires it.
"GEE WHIZ!" SAID LITTLE SANTA.
Soon Little Santa and the reindeer come to a little house, which seems to be a dormitory for dozens of green-clad elves, who offer to make up lots of shovels and a sleigh to haul them back to the Claus cabin to dig the family out.
"HOLY SNOWFLAKE!" SAID LITTLE SANTA.
Little Santa and the eager elves pile into the sleigh and the reindeer hauls them back to rescue the Clauses. The family is grateful, but not enough to stay at the North Pole any longer than they have to. As soon as the snow melts enough to load up the family station wagon, the Clauses head for the sunny shores of south Florida.
But Little Santa cheerfully elects to stay behind with his new friends, the clever woodworking elves, learns animal husbandry from the flying reindeer, and gradually exchanges his red onesie for a fur-trimmed red suit, tasseled cap, and big black boots. And every Christmas he loads up the sleigh with the elf-made gifts, hitches up his whole herd of flying reindeer, and heads off into the night. He's all grown up, but he's still fond of chimney-sliding.
AND YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY.
Jon Agee's latest, Little Santa (Dial Books, 2013), is a full-blown, brand-new Christmas classic. His Little Santa is an appealing kid St. Nick, who follows his bliss into a full-time career of chimney sliding and gift-giving all over the world. Agee's deadpan delivery has a just-right tone, and his text and charming illustrations, a bit reminiscent of William Steig's classic works, are executed with strong black lines and a light touch of watercolors except for Little Santa's Christmas red coverall and pointy hood. Winning starred reviews all around from School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly, this one is an must-have Christmas readaloud, even if you do know the rest of the story!