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Dear Santasaurus

Dear Santasaurus

5.0 1
by Stacy McAnulty

It's January 1, but Ernest B. Spinosaurus is already dreaming of the present Santasaurus will hopefully bring him next Christmas. This means, of course, that Ernest will have to stay on Santasaurus's "nice" list all . . . year . . . long. But how will Santasaurus know? By Ernest's letters! This hilarious story is told entirely through the seventeen letters that


It's January 1, but Ernest B. Spinosaurus is already dreaming of the present Santasaurus will hopefully bring him next Christmas. This means, of course, that Ernest will have to stay on Santasaurus's "nice" list all . . . year . . . long. But how will Santasaurus know? By Ernest's letters! This hilarious story is told entirely through the seventeen letters that Ernest writes to Santasaurus, detailing the whopping 257 nice acts (and the mere 256 naughty acts) he racks up through the year. Santasaurus even sends a letter in reply! Fresh and funny, this countdown to Christmas is a journey through the year that readers will want to take over and over again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Is one letter to Santa (or Santasaurus) really enough to ensure a spot on the Nice List? Not for Ernest B. Spinosaurus, the tiny purple dino who writes 16 letters to the dinosaur in the red suit over the course of a year. Throughout, Ernest never fails to emphasize his good behavior, downplay his mischievous habits, and remind Santasaurus that he’d love a Jurassic Turbo Scooter X9. The jokes begin to feel tired and repetitious after a year’s worth of reiteration, though Kaminsky’s lurid scenes of juvenile dinosaur destruction help keep the energy level high. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

". . . Ernest's escapades are amusing . . . Frenetic, cartoon-style illustrations in jazzy shades add to the humor." --Kirkus Reviews
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Ernest B. Spinosaurus is a young dinosaur who writes a series of letters to Santasaurus over the course of a year. He begins on New Year’s Day, thanking Santa for last Christmas’s remote-control flying pterodactyl and promising to stay on the Nice List for the whole year. But the letters that follow, developing and fine-tuning Ernest’s new request for a “Jurassic Turbo Scooter X10 with the working headlight, the racing fin, the hand brake, the secret compartment, the match water bottle, the rearview mirror, the knobby claw grips, and the siren,” show how hard it is not to migrate to the Naughty List. Ernest’s letters are usually dated on special days throughout the changing seasons. A Valentine’s Day letter confesses that he did not think his mom would really mind a fake spider in her box of chocolates, an April Fool’s Day letter switches his gift request to underwear and socks, a Mother’s Day letter apologizes for the glitter mess left over from making a special card, a back-to-school letter includes a comical school picture, a Halloween letter admits to having committed a prank or two, and a Thanksgiving letter gives anticipatory thanks for the scooter sure to come. Children should enjoy this amusing tour through one fun-and-mischief-packed dinosaur year through McAnulty’s droll letters and Kaminsky’s bold, bright illustrations. (Hint: be on the lookout for sightings of Santasaurus throughout the book) Let the countdown to Christmas begin!Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—A young dinosaur writes letters to Santasaurus all year long, starting with a thank-you note in January for toys already long-since broken. Each month brings an update on desired gifts for the coming Christmas, along with examples of his good behavior and excuses for occasional naughtiness. The missives are clever, with just the right tone of childish naïveté, never coming off as greedy or manipulative. Kaminsky lends a deft touch with cartoon illustrations that expand on the humor of the text. The dinos are depicted as expressive, silly, colorful monsters rather than fierce reptiles, and the Christmas tree is a cycad rather than a pine. The book is sure to elicit many laughs at storytime, and possibly inspire kids to keep up their own year-round correspondence with Santa.—Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Ernest B. Spinosaurus is a young dinosaur boy who is trying to stay on Santa's Nice List. Santasaurus, that is. The text of this comical story consists of 17 letters written by Ernest to Santasaurus, beginning with a thank-you letter for Santa's recent Christmas gift and ending with Ernest's thank-you letter the following year. Ernest tells Santasaurus about his daily life, offering humorous descriptions of his interactions with family and his best friend, holidays, and escapades at school and summer camp. Ernest tries hard to behave so that he can be on the Nice List, but like a lot of little boys, he finds all sorts of creative ways to entertain himself that lead to trouble. In each letter, Ernest talks about what he wants for Christmas, focusing on the Jurassic Turbo Scooter X9. Every month, Ernest changes his desired scooter color and the kinds of special features, but by December, he has settled on a lava red model with lots of specific add-ons, including a siren. Ernest's escapades are amusing, but the repetitious requests for different scooter models wear a little thin by December 24. Santasaurus fulfills Ernest's request along with a pink tricycle for his little sister, Amber, and a purple scooter for best friend Ty. Frenetic, cartoon-style illustrations in jazzy shades add to the humor. Funny but not hilarious--a book that proves the truism, less is more. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Stacy McAnulty was a mechanical engineer who designed premium class airline seats. Stacy’s passion is writing. Stacy lives in North Carolina with her daughters and husband, their two dogs and one cat. Stacy also occasionally wears VP clogs for the Winston-Salem Writers.

Jef Kaminsky is the author and illustrator of Poppy & Ella (Hyperion). He has collaborated with Sarah Weeks on Bite Me, I’m a Shape and Bite Me, I’m a Book (Random House) and with Martha Atwater on a line of animal-shaped sticker books called Stickamajigs (Hyperion). Currently, Jef is a children’s television developer and producer for Scholastic, Inc. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and daughter.

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Dear Santasaurus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MsRC More than 1 year ago
Ernest wants to stay on Santasaurus’ Nice List so he can get a scooter for Christmas. Every few weeks he writes Santasaurs a letter to tell him about all the nice things he’s done—and to ask for the scooter again. My children and I found the letters hilarious. We loved reading about Ernest’s many attempts to be good and caring, all the while upgrading his request in each letter for a bigger and better scooter. We also loved that the main characters were dinosaurs. The author did a super job of bringing the letters around full circle from the very first one that was written to the final letter Ernest sent to thank Santasaurus.  It was a clever and enjoyable read that I’m sure will become a seasonal favorite!