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Santa Clauses : Short Poems from the North Pole - Bob Raczka

Santa Clauses

Short Poems from the North Pole

By: Bob Raczka, Chuck Groenink (Illustrator)

Hardcover | 1 September 2014

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You know that Santa can fly a sleigh, squeeze down chimneys, and circle the globe in a night. But did you know that another of his talents is writing haiku?

"December 1: White envelopes float / from my overfilled mailbox-- / December's first storm."

"December 24: Which is packed tighter / the sack full of toys or the / red suit full of me?"

These twenty-five short poems--composed by Santa himself--give you a peek into life at the North Pole as the December days tick down to Christmas. See the hustle and bustle of the elves' workshop, feel the serenity of moonlight on fresh snow, and find out how Santa and Mrs. Claus keep busy as Santa's big night draws near.

Industry Reviews

Quiet haikus written by Santa Claus are gift-wrapped in lovely folk-inspired, jewel-toned spreads. From December 1 to December 25, he shares seasonal selections that capture the spirit of the holidays and the activities at the North Pole. Younger children will enjoy the charming and humorous illustrations, while older readers might be inspired to create their own haiku celebrating the holiday or any other subject. Raczka uses the traditional elements of the commercial aspects of the holiday to create quiet moments to savor. For example: 'December 16th' 'Dripping snow freezes/into icicles; cookies/bake in the oven.' A lovely and enticing addition. --School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

Readers are offered a day-by-day 'glimpse of life at the North Pole' in twenty-five festive haiku 'penned' by Santa himself. The poems are rich with tender emotions ('Mrs. Claus making / an angel, becoming a / little girl again') and crisp imagery ('Sprinkling sand on my / snow-covered steps, thinking of / nutmeg on eggnog'), all reflected affectionately and vividly in Groenink's art: a smiling, rosy-cheeked, bundled-up missus makes snow angels while textured grains of sand are strewn over the icy cottage stairs beside her. A warm seasonal collection notable for its clever, gently comical visual details (note St. Nick's adult beverage as he relaxes in an armchair on December 26th). --The Horn Book Magazine

-- "Journal"

Santa himself is the purported author of this calm but bright collection of 25 haiku, one for each day of the December countdown to Christmas. An introductory page scrolling out of Santa's typewriter describes the poetic form and how Santa came to write haiku of his own. Some poems show Santa and Mrs. Claus in their old-fashioned home, enjoying the snow and preparing for Christmas with the elves, while others capture outdoor images of snowy trees and moonlight. Within the collection, all the traditional elements of haiku can be found: colorful imagery, unusual juxtapositions, associations with nature and a sense of sudden enlightenment, as in 'Reading the reindeer's / favorite bedtime story, / my cold nose grows red.' Another memorable glimpse into Santa's life shows him reading to Mrs. Claus and their cat in a dark room next to the fireplace as the elves peek through a door. 'Sitting by the fire / reading A Christmas Carol, / listening for ghosts.' An oversize format gives plenty of room for intriguing illustrations with a muted palette and an Old World flavor. The volume's thoughtful design uses a typewriter font to emphasize the personal nature of Santa's haiku, with the chronological date for each day's poem set in red. Anyone interested in haiku or poetry for children will find this collection a rare treat. Quiet winter scenes / Santa ponders in writing, / sharing the season. --starred, Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal"

What is Santa up to in the weeks leading up to the big day? According to Raczka, he is practicing his haiku, one for each day of 25 days leading up to Christmas. The quiet verses are sometimes beautiful ('Mother Nature trims / her tree with icicles, snow, / pinecones, and moonlight') and sometimes wry ('Which is packed tighter, / the sack full of toys or the / red suit full of me?'), and they're always paired with Groenink's subdued colored-pencil illustrations of the North Pole and Santa's preparations for the holiday, which include not only making toys but also some everyday winter activities, such as sprinkling sand on a slippery stoop. A heartwarming and cozy offering that encourages appreciating small moments of delight. --Booklist Online

-- "Website"

Writing in the voice of Santa himself, Raczka (Lemonade) offers a haiku for each day in December leading up to Christmas. This is not a frantic Santa laboring day and night in his workshop; in fact, he's seen there only on December 9, calmly whistling while listening to 'Elves pounding, sawing/ and sanding, a holiday/ concert performance.' Ostensibly typed up on Santa's typewriter, the poems capture the sounds and sights of the season, indoors and out, while conveying the personality of the gentle, perceptive poet and his loving bond with Mrs. Claus. Suggesting elements of folk art, silkscreen, and stencil, Groenink's (Dear Daisy Dunnington) graceful pictures are similarly soothing, whether he's portraying the moonlit, frozen outdoors or the peaceful, warm interior of the Claus home. This is Christmas from the heart--with scarcely a toy in sight. --starred, Publishers Weekly

-- "Journal"

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