Reviews for Santa from Cincinnati

Booklist Reviews 2012 November #1
*Starred Review* Sure, Santa lives at the North Pole now, but he has to come from somewhere, right? And he does. According to the powerhouse team of Barrett and Hawkes, he is Cincinnati born and bred, and the signs pointing to his bright future were always there. Told from Santa's point of view, this recounts his birth on December 25th (he is the only baby in the nursery wearing a pointy red cap); talks about his early jovial disposition diagnosis; discusses his cotton-ball beard; and describes his dad, who made toys in the basement. The story continues on from there, as Santa's toys overflow his bedroom and are subsequently given away to neighborhood children. Santa heads off to a very special kind of college, before settling down with Mrs. Claus. Barrett hasn't left any stone unturned in imagining Santa's childhood days, and the first-person narration gives the whole thing a tongue-in-cheek vibe. Obviously, Hawkes had so much to play with here, and he extends the fun at all times. There's the Polaroid snapshots of would-be Santa trying to pursue other interests and joining a rock band called Santa and His Reindeer and others depicting Mr. and Mrs. Claus' rejected potential homes (one is captioned Lighthouse. Not righthouse). Kids are going to want to add this one to their Christmas lists. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
According to this satisfying origin story, Santa's just a guy blessed with a "jovial disposition," an "obsession with toys," an inventive mind, and a generous nature. His first-person narration is plainspoken with touches of folksiness, taking readers from babyhood through his early schooling, college, and beyond. Hawkes's vibrant acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations capture the simpler-times family sensibility and the story's winking, tall-tale elements.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
It's Santa Claus the prequel in this witty exploration of Santa's younger years. Santa narrates the story himself, starting with his birth on December 25 in Cincinnati to a normal couple who spotted his first name in a bowl of alphabet soup. His preferences and interests as a child are often indicated in Hawkes' illustrations; as a newborn he's wrapped in a red blanket with a tiny Santa cap, and as a little boy, he totes around a pillowcase full of stuffed reindeer toys. Santa and his father build toys together in his basement, and as a young man, Santa starts giving toys away every Christmas Eve. Each aspect of Santa's character is addressed, so that his current persona seems a logical result of his younger years. A large trim size with expansive double-page spreads lets the acrylic-and–colored-pencil illustrations shine, and lots of the laugh-out-loud humor is presented in the art. And of course, lots of children in Cincinnati will expect to find this under the tree on Christmas morning, a gift from their new hometown hero. The droll, understated wit of the text and the delightfully comical, skillfully planned illustrations make this a story that will delight both children and adult readers. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2

Everyone knows Santa lives at the North Pole, but readers may be surprised to discover that Santa was born and raised in Cincinnati. In this clever picture book memoir, Santa looks back at his early diagnosis of a "jovial disposition," his penchants for tinkering and toy-building, his early efforts to provide the kids of Cincinnati with Christmas gifts, his college years, and beyond. Filling in the details of Santa's upbringing is an inventive premise, and readers will enjoy learning about Santa when he was just a redheaded boy with a cowlick and a fondness for beards. Hawkes's acrylics brim with humorous details, including scrapbook-style family photos of a young redheaded Santa hugging his toy reindeer, playing guitar, and tooling around in a convertible. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr 1-3--Barrett explains Santa's origins in the form of a personal memoir, complete with appealing scrapbook-style "photo" layouts. It's no surprise that Santa was jolly from birth, always loved cookies, and uttered "ho, ho, ho" as his first words. But who knew that his dad made toys in a basement workshop and that the annual toy distribution was a way to declutter the house? Actually, Santa's life was more normal than one might guess. He played baseball, joined a rock band, held various part-time jobs, learned to drive, and even attended the high school prom. It was in college, where he met the future Mrs. Claus, as well as his future employees, the elves, that his career destiny solidified. His thriving enterprise continues to this day, and, though he's a bit older and rounder, he keeps up with the trends. Kids needn't fear any missed deliveries because Santa's sleigh is now jet-propelled and equipped with a GPS! Clever and original, the story is made even more appealing by the dynamic acrylic paintings. Hawkes is a master of at rendering expressive faces and humorous details. A surefire hit for holiday storytimes.--Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library

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