When Santa Fell to Earth
Translation (from German) by Oliver G. Latsch
Illustrated by Paul Howard
Chicken House, Scholastic, 2006
What a great story for Christmas!!! It is a wonderful chapter book with lovely illustrations that would make for great bedtime reading or for reading by the Christmas tree on the nights leading up to the BIG DAY. The last of the real Santas is snoozing in his caravan, which is being pulled through the nighttime sky by the last reindeer, when a storm blows up with lightening and thunder. The storm scares the reindeer, he breaks his harness and flies off, leaving Santa and his caravan careening through the sky until he crash lands in a village, on a back street called Misty Close. Why is he the last Santa? What will he do with his broken caravan? How will he get anywhere on Christmas Eve with no reindeer? These questions and more are asked and answered – of course the most important question of all: Is Santa Claus real? YES!!, of course he is!!
*Niklas Goodfellow, the last of the Real Santa’s, is being hunted down by Gerold Geronimus Goblynch, a Santa who sees Christmas only as for-profit scheme
*Ben, a shy, young boy who rarely speaks because of a stutter, finds himself keeping company with Santa, 2 angels, a whole host of elves and a girl!
*Charlotte, a younger girl and her dog, Mutt, join Ben in Santa’s caravan for hot chocolate and gingerbread; they later set off to find Twinklestar, Santa’s reindeer who ran off during the storm
Other Important Characters:
*Matilda and Emmanuel, angels who make gingerbread and hot chocolate and listen to children’s dreams at night to find out what they really wish for
*Rufflebeard, Goldbeard, Specklebeard, Firebeard and all the rest ‘—beard’s, real Christmas elves who can repair Santa’s caravan (when they feel like it), make Christmas toys and have a real penchant for cursing – saying things like “booger-burps and reindeer poo!” and “smelly goblin farts!”
*Dean, a local bully who challenges Ben daily
*Gerold Geronimus Goblynch, Niklas’ nemesis, whom we really don’t meet until near the end of the story but is nonetheless important.
As I said, this is a really great book. I loved it because there is a clear good versus bad theme; it is appropriate for children of all ages, literally 0-100+; and it delights the imagination. For kids it helps them believe just a little bit longer in the wonder of Santa Claus. For adults, it reminds them of their youth when they believed and maybe they can believe in His Spirit once again. This is a book to be read every year at Christmas.
Rating 5 out of 5 paws
There’s a movie but we haven’t seen it! Click on the link – there’s a cool trailer for the movie.