Book Review: Snowballs Make the Best Gifts

Most holiday-season picture books focus on Santa Claus and the joy of giving, or receiving gifts. It’s a heart-warming experience wrapped up in a neat little box covered in pretty paper and a bow.

The best thing about this book is the way Santa Claus delivers the best possible gift to  Yukio, the main character – an EPIC snowball fight! It’s not a toy or clothes or even a much-needed tool or box of supplies, it’s an activity!

The children in my life simply loved the snowball fight between a village of ninjas (and their ninja children) and a mysterious red-suited samurai who turns out to be the jolly-old-man himself. The best part? Santa reveals his identity through a letter left for Yukio, under the tree:

Dear Yukio,
I hope you enjoyed the EPIC snowball fight. I made it just for you.
Sincerely,
Samurai Santa

The story is fun, well-told and full of action and adventure. There’s a happy ending and an entire community of kids who enjoy the best snowball fight of their entire lives! So, in that respect, it’s an excellent book to read during the holidays – just for fun.

However, the book also opens up the concept of gift giving as an action instead of a thing. Sometimes the best presents don’t have wrapping paper or boxes or a place under the tree. Sometimes they are the time we spend with each other.

It’s an all-around excellent story.

Samurai Santa, A Very Ninja Christmas, by Rubin Pingk

Happy Elves, Happy Shoemakers

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Happy International Workers Day and Labor Day!

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When they were dressed, they leaped and bounced around the room, singing, “Now we’re elves so fine to see, no longer cobblers we will be.” They jumped over chairs, raced around the shop and finally ran out the door. The click and clack of their new shoes echoed through the streets.

 

From that time on, the little elves were not seen again. But the shoemaker and his wife lived a long and happy life.

The Elves and the Shoemaker, a retelling of a story written by the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Jim LaMarche

 

No Planes Only Reindeer

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During the final12 days before Christmas, I am posting quotes from Santa’s letters – courtesy of JRR Tolkien. It’s a wonderful book and a grand idea. I wish I’d thought of it. 🙂

“I shall soon be off on my travels once more. You need not believe any pictures you see of me in aeroplanes or motors. I cannot drive one, and don’t want to; and they are too slow anyway (not to mention smell). They cannot compare with my own reindeer, which I train myself.”

Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Santa and the Economy

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During the final12 days before Christmas, I am posting quotes from Santa’s letters – courtesy of JRR Tolkien. It’s a wonderful book and a grand idea. I wish I’d thought of it. 🙂

“We have both, the old Polar Bear and I, enjoyed having so many nice letters from you and your pets. If you think we have not read them you are wrong; but if you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite as many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.”

“I (and also my Green Brother) have had to do some collecting of food and clothes, and toys too, for the children whose fathers and mothers and friends cannot give them anything, sometimes not even dinner. I know yours won’t forget you.”

Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien