Santa’s Secret

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Illustration of girl with purple hat and glasses holding a list of questions to ask three men dressed like Santa.

Christmas will be here before we know it. There is always room for new and hilarious Christmas picture books, and Santa’s Secret, by Denise Brennan-Nelson, is one of those books.

In the book, a precocious young girl and her parents and grandmother have gone on an adventure to the city to see the Christmas lights and decorations at the holiday parade. While they’re there, the girl sees Santa in his festive sleigh, being pulled down the avenue by his adorable reindeer. The girl is quite happy to see Santa, but it is only when she and her family walks around town for awhile and see another Santa — who looks nothing like the Santa in the sleigh — that she begins to have questions about just how many Santa’s there are in the world.

Her grandmother tells her that this is Santa’s secret, but the girl, who refers to herself as a sleuth, doesn’t accept this answer, and she goes on a quest to discover the truth. She composes a list of questions that are sure to get to the truth, then she stands in a line and waits to question yet another Santa who is talking to boys and girls — and she is quite confident she’s about to get to the truth.

As Santa books go, the premise of this book is both sweet and cuddly-cute, and is worthy to sit on any child’s personal bookshelf. The prose seems appropriate for early elementary student, and the illustrations, by artist Deborah Melmon, are bright, colorful and quite expressive. The book is written in almost complete rhyme, with only a beat or two that don’t quite line up.

Use this book as an intro to favorite holidays, urban legends, wish lists, or even “Who-What-When-Where-How” questions. Enjoy

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