Middle Grade Fiction: When Santa Fell to Earth
Title: When Santa Fell to Earth
Author: Cornelia Funke. Trans. Oliver Latsch
Publisher: Scholastic ebook, 2011. 90 pages. Original by Dressler, 1994 (in German).
Source: Library digital resources
What would happen if Santa fell to Earth? Christmas through the eyes of Cornelia Funke: quirky, funny, ultimately heartwarming, and packaged in a collectible format. A new holiday classic! Scared by a storm, Twinklestar, the least reliable reindeer, bolts--causing Santa and his sleigh to crash-land. And though Santa has dropped into a friendly neighborhood, he's not safe: Jeremiah Goblynch, the ruthless new leader of the Council of Yuleland, is determind to put an end to children's wishes and turn the holiday season into his own personal moneymaking scheme. As the last REAL St. Nick around, only Santa stands between Goblynch and his grinchlike plan. With the help and hope of kids Charlotte and Ben, Santa must face Goblynch and his Nutcracker goons to save Christmas!
This was a delightful short read! I loved the glimpses of a magical world of Santas, as well as the mild adventure story. There is a grave peril to Santa and thus to Christmas as we (well, of a select set of first-world countries, but that's a different discussion) know it. But the peril is never too frightening or too disillusioning for the very young, making this a good family read-aloud for the holidays.
At only about 90 pages, it doesn't take long to read. I enjoyed it enough to sit down and read straight through in one go, and I liked the balance in the end of giving the children what they needed, and being Santa, who maintains a certain distance and has important things to go do (well, after Christmas that important thing is to sleep on a tropical beach for a while, but hey, he works hard in the weeks leading up to the holiday!).
And after reading this, I will never eat another chocolate Santa (easy vow: I like high-quality chocolate, and they usually aren't!).
Read it aloud to the family next Christmas. Taken in small doses, you might be able to make it last the week before Christmas, or at least the time after school lets out. It offers just enough to be kind of fun for the grown-ups, too, though this really is a book for the kids up to about age 9 or 10. It won't disillusion the ones who still believe in the big guy, either.
FTC Disclosure: I checked When Santa Fell to Earth out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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