Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Santa is Coming to Washington, D.C. by Steve Smallman

Santa is Coming to Washington, D.C. by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Robert Dunn

Rating: 3.5 stars

I just told Ben about the whole naughty and nice list.  I'm hoping he kicks it up a notch out of fear of coal.  I'm doubtful...he's in the throes of lack of impulse control and when he gets, he's just a blur of giggles and dimples and glee.

But...  'Tis the season for reminding kids to be good for more than goodness' sake!  And this book does start with a funny line.  Santa asks one elf if children in Washington, D.C., have been good this year.  The elf replies: "Mostly."  Santa: "Mostly?"  Elf: "Yes...but they've all been especially good in the last few days!"

This is a cute book in which Santa goes out to deliver tons of presents to the Washington, D.C., area but, because of a crazy blizzard, he gets hopelessly lost.  Santa's GPS doesn't help him (it's 2013, folks, all these books have Santa holding a GPS), that "old reindeer with the red nose" is helpless (my heart goes out to old Rudolph), but a young reindeer hears a church bell (turns out to be the Washington National Cathedral) and tugs the sleigh thattaway.  The blizzard magically disappears in a nanosecond, and the reindeer and Santa realize they are flying straight into the Capitol building.  They pull with all their might to (successfully) avoid hitting it.

Lots of local places are listed in the book: Capitol Hill, the Mall, Dupont Circle, the National Zoo, Rock Creek Park, Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase, Georgetown. In all these places Santa either zooms over or stops to visit, often taking a bite of a cookie and grabbing a carrot left out for his reindeer.  At the last house, as the sun starts to rise, he gives each reindeer a carrot and they fly home.

It's a cute book if you live here--the illustration of Santa flying over the Capitol building and the White House are fun images for kids to see.  But the story is unoriginal and barely there; it's not some magical tale that you'll get wrapped up in every holiday season.  Instead of that, the author just found a series that would sell well...he's written books about Santa coming to many cities, including: Maryland, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Texas, California, Austin, Albuquerque...

P.S.  When my Dad read this review, he commented: "In this post 9/11 world, it's a good thing Santa didn't get shot down."  Good point, Dad.  Good point.  If the author had included that, it'd be a hard one to talk through with kids...

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