Once he learns that the real meaning behind Christmas is “showing people how much you love them,” he is eager to pass on the affection. Daniel and his mother break open his piggy bank and purchase gifts for Tommy, anonymously leaving them on his front step on Christmas Eve. Daniel’s desire to lift up someone in distress is touching, made even more so when readers find out that Tommy’s family has recently split up–and see the magic and wonder felt by Tommy and his mother when they discover the gifts. Merritt’s emphasis on internalizing the Christmas spirit to help others is a valuable lesson for young readers, and adults will appreciate the creative assistance in explaining the complexities of Santa Claus to questioning children.
Bundoc’s brightly colored digital art fuses the narrative with an animated holiday atmosphere, complete with twinkling lights and warm Christmas scenery, while skillfully portraying the characters’ emotions. The story comes full circle in the end, with Santa visiting a grown-up Daniel and his family in a touching and sentimental conclusion–and readers will enjoy the link provided to create their own lists of who might need them to become Santas. This tender holiday narrative will be welcome on any Christmas bookshelf.
Takeaway: A child learns the moving truth about Santa and giving in this coming-of-age holiday tale.
Great for fans of: B.K. Gendron’s The (Wonderful) Truth About Santa, Martha Brockenbrough’s Love, Santa.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A