Review of How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney?

How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney? How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney?
by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
9/23    9781536223767    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781536234442    $18.99

Barnett and Klassen (The Three Billy Goats Gruff, rev. 1/23, and others) reunite to address the title’s age-old Christmas question. Barnett’s text expertly speculates as a child might, with ideas ranging from the logical (“Maybe Santa knows about the key under the flowerpot”) to the playful (“Or [does he] stretch out like taffy and step in one leg at a time?”). Klassen’s graphite, ink, and digital illustrations add his ever-pleasing straight-faced brand of humor (e.g., Santa doing laundry in his heart-patterned underwear to clean the soot off his suit). Theorizing is more entertaining than discovering an answer would be—the magic is in the mystery, after all, including the mystery of how Santa gets back up the chimney.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Cynthia K. Ritter
Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is managing editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons University. She served on the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee.

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