My Pen Pal, Santa

Overview

Writing a letter to Santa is fairly simple; you make your case and list your hoped-for gifts. But if you're a hard-core fan like Ava, a letter to Santa is something entirely different. A simple New Year's note to the North Pole about some uneaten cookies kicks off a year-long correspondence between a young girl and the jolly guy in the red suit in this joyful epistolary picturebook. This holiday story is perfect for those who believe and those who remember the wonder of the ...

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Overview

Writing a letter to Santa is fairly simple; you make your case and list your hoped-for gifts. But if you're a hard-core fan like Ava, a letter to Santa is something entirely different. A simple New Year's note to the North Pole about some uneaten cookies kicks off a year-long correspondence between a young girl and the jolly guy in the red suit in this joyful epistolary picturebook. This holiday story is perfect for those who believe and those who remember the wonder of the season.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
A little girl named Ava corresponds with Santa by mail for an entire year; their monthly letters make up the text of this mildly amusing holiday story. The letters begin in January with Ava's thank-you letter for her Christmas presents and continue with a pair of letters for each month through the following Christmas Eve. Ava asks Santa lots of questions in her letters, shown on the left-hand pages with scenes from Ava's world. Santa's patient letters answering all of Ava's questions are shown on facing right-hand pages with accompanying views of life at the North Pole. Cheerful illustrations in a loose, comfortable style add considerable appeal to the story, but Ava's letters don't always seem child-written, and Santa's letters are sometimes expository lists lacking humor. The little girl's letters include several questions about whether Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are real and whether "presents come from our parents." Santa always manages reasonable explanations in his responses, but the questions are ones adult readers might wish to avoid altogether in a children's book about Santa. The conclusion is the best part of the book, with Ava's single Christmas request, to meet Santa, satisfied on the final, wordless page. The letter format has become popular as a textual structure in picture books, but this collection of missives misses the mark. (Picture book. 4-7)
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
A little girl named Alva writes a thank you note to Santa, which starts a series of letters that go back and forth between them from January until the following Christmas. Each month, Alva writes to Santa. In February she wishes him a happy Valentine’s Day, in March she writes about her lost tooth, in April about the Easter bunny, and in May about the tulip bulbs they are planting. Santa responds each month by answering her questions and writing about things he and his family, reindeer, and elves are doing. In December, Alva sends a list of questions about Christmas and Santa does he best to answer them all. On her Christmas list, she asks if she can meet him. Mrs. Claus writes that Santa is very busy, but that he has received her Christmas list. A picture at the conclusion shows Alva giving Santa some carrots that he said he liked instead of cookies. Santa’s answers should be interesting to children who are curious to know more about him, and his answers provide subtle educational value. Cheery illustrations add to the pleasant exchange of letters. This is a nice story to read aloud to young children, and it could be read by children who are reading independently. Reviewer: Vicki Foote AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 7.
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
PreS-Gr 2—Kindergartner Ava writes a thank-you note to Santa soon after Christmas and receives a jovial response. Thus begins a year of lighthearted monthly correspondence between the two. Most of the letters revolve around Ava's questions regarding holidays or customs ("Do you know the Tooth Fairy?" "Have you met the Easter Bunny?" "Can you see fireworks all the way up in the North Pole?"). The occasionally busy seasonal layout is still clever and colorful and the text of the letters is easy to read. While the book is not a first purchase, teachers could easily use it to introduce letter-writing skills or the concept of an old-fashioned pen pal.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375869921
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 405,596
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.82 (w) x 7.23 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

MELISSA STANTON is a magazine and web editor and the author of The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide. She lives in the Annapolis area with her husband and three children. She was inspired to write My Pen Pal, Santa when her daughter wrote a letter to Santa after Christmas, thanking him for her gifts and inquiring about some uneaten cookies.

JENNIFER A. BELL is a children's book and greeting card illustrator. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and son. You can find her online at JenniferABell.com 

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