Sunday, December 17, 2017

No Way for Santa? Santa's Magic Key by Eric James

I didn't notice it was missing until Christmas Eve...and only then because I was looking for places to hang my stocking in our new home.

Immediately the boy sees his dilemma. How can St. Nick make his visit if there's no easy way into his house? But this kid is proactive. He hurries to find pen and paper and writes Santa a letter explaining that he has no chimney.

He seals the letter quickly and bustles out to mail the letter. He knows that Santa must already be loading his sleigh. Time is short! But when he arrives at post office, he sees the sign.


Snow starts to fall. Disheartened, the boy sadly starts back home . But when he turns the corner, he finds himself on a street he's never seen before. And there's a little shop with a welcome sign:


"Please, I have to get this letter to Santa Claus as soon as possible," the boy pleads. "He needs to know I don't have a chimney! Will Santa get it in time?" he asks the red-clad man at the counter.

"I guarantee it!" says the jolly white-bearded clerk.

Pointing to the heavy snow blowing by the shop window, the clerk offers the boy a red coat to keep him warm on his way home.

And inside the coat pocket was a real key!

The boy rushes back out into the street, but as he looks back to wave to the kindly clerk, the shop seems to have disappeared in the falling snow. He hurries home to put up his stocking, put out cookies for Santa, and hang the key by the front door with a thank-you note for St. Nick.

And as we know, Santa has many ways of getting the job done, and so he does in Eric James' Santa's Magic Key (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, 2017). Author James makes use of the much-loved premise of Christmas magic, majorly assisted by artist Simon Mendez, whose lovely, retro-styled illustrations are reminiscent of Charles Santore's top-selling award-winning The Night Before Christmas. (See review here.) Done with classic Christmas style, in a large-format picture book featuring an ornate key inset in the cover just like the one in the story for chimney-less kids to put out for Santa every year, this one makes a dandy Yuletide gift for kids who want to make sure Santa gets to make his big entrance on Christmas Eve.

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