Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, December 7, 2009

Auntie Claus

Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera

Come join Sophie as she tries to discover the truth about her great-aunt, Auntie Claus. Sophie lives in New York in the Bing Cherry Hotel with her mother, father, and little brother Chris. She is a Kringle, and the Kringle's love Christmas so much they keep a Christmas tree up year round. But Sophie loves Christmas for the presents, and always wants more of them. Every afternoon Sophie has tea with her Auntie Claus, who teaches her all about Christmas. Each year just after Halloween Auntie Claus would go on a business trip that would keep her away until Valentine's Day. Sophie wanted to know where her aunt went but Auntie Sophie would never tell. On year Sophie decides to try and follow her aunt on this business trip, after saying goodbye to her parents Sophie sneaks up to her aunt's room and sees her aunt put a large diamond key into the elevator at the end of the room. Sophie hides in a box and suddenly the elevator is flying high above the city. When Sophie gets out she is in a very cold and snowy place that she has never seen before. An elf, Mr. Pudding, greets her and Sophie pretends that she is the new elf who was to start working that day. Mr. Pudding takes Sophie to work in the mail room where for weeks Sophie works with the other elves. But she still cannot find her Auntie Claus. Finally on Christmas Eve Sophie is asked to go down and retrieve coal for the boys and girls on the B-B-and-G List (Bad Boys and Girls List). As Sophie reaches the bottom of the tunnel she sees the list and there is her brother's name. Sophie thinks of all the presents she will get on Christmas morning and how sad her brother would be to only get a lump of coal and erases his name and replaces it with her own. Suddenly Sophie is standing right next to Auntie Claus and Santa Claus. Auntie Claus is Santa's sister. Sophie rides home in Santa's sleigh. On Christmas morning she realizes, when she sees how happy her brother is with his presents, that it really is better to give than to receive.

This is a very cute story. The illustrations are very colorful and tell a great narrative in-and-of themselves. There are many little details tucked away on every page which are fun to discover as you examine each page. There are some good lessons in here about sharing, giving, and working hard. This is a great read aloud but it is a bit long so leave at least 20 minutes. There are a couple good stopping points along the way though if your young reader needs a break. I highly recommend as a Christmas story that is about giving and being selfless.

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