by Jon Agee; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary Dial 40 pp.
10/13 978-0-8037-3906-2 $17.99 g
It’s easy to distinguish Santa from his parents and six siblings (Larry, Mary, Willy, Millie, Joey, Zoe). They’re all much older, and depressed as only Agee grownups can be; Santa’s the happy little one in the brick-red romper who loves nothing more than sliding down the chimney. The Clauses have decided to hang it up and move to Florida when a blizzard snows them in, and it’s a good thing Santa can go up the chimney as well, as he escapes and brings a reindeer and some hardworking elves to the rescue. The Clauses still move to Florida, but Santa stays behind with his new friends, “and you know the rest of the story.” Agee makes this origin story seem right and true, and the North Pole setting was made for his particular genius with white space. Crisp storytelling, bold lines, and expert page turns make the book ideal for group sharing — and kids will be asking for it all year round.