Santa on the Loose!: A Seek and Solve Mystery!


Santa's sleigh is ready to go—except for one thing: The presents are nowhere to be found! Santa needs your help to find out who took the toys! Is the culprit an unhappy elf or a disgruntled reindeer or even—yikes!—a hungry polar bear? With so many possible suspects, Santa's going to have to do some serious detective work to crack this case before Christmas comes!

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Santa's sleigh is ready to go—except for one thing: The presents are nowhere to be found! Santa needs your help to find out who took the toys! Is the culprit an unhappy elf or a disgruntled reindeer or even—yikes!—a hungry polar bear? With so many possible suspects, Santa's going to have to do some serious detective work to crack this case before Christmas comes!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Santa’s toys are missing, and this activity book prompts readers to discover the culprit by locating visual clues on busy digital spreads: “As Santa searches the stables, he finds something the thief must have dropped. Can you spot Santa and his clue?” The interactive format and broad suspect list (including Loki the Reindeer, Emo the Elf, Softy the Snowman, Roz the Bear, Arlo the Penguin, and Santa’s Helper Kendra) should have fans of Where’s Waldo? racing through locations like the North Pole Mall, Santa’s Candy Factory, and the Wrapping Barn. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-Rudman
Santa on the Loose! should have been titled "Polar Bears Prep for Christmas" since there are more interesting "doings" among the polar bears depicted in this holiday "Seek and Solve Mystery!" than there are with Santa. The "I Spy"/"Where's Waldo" style picture book opens with drawings of six suspects including a Reindeer, a Polar Bear, an Elf, Penguin, Snowman and Kendra—Santa's Helper. Apparently, one of these characters stole Santa's toys; however, each busy, cartoon-filled page displays toys and wrapped presents. The reader is instructed to search for Santa in each two-page spread to discover the latest clue to the toy thief. The book's disappointing ending follows two pages depicting all of the "Evidence" and a "Bonus Search" that includes a Halloween pumpkin. Readers are advised to search for Christmas "I Spy" or "Where's Waldo" titles and leave this one hidden. Reviewer: Debra Lampert-Rudman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—With a toy thief at large and Christmas Eve coming soon, there's work to be done and readers must use searching skills and the process of elimination to find the culprit. Pictures of six smiling suspects fill the first spread. Loki the Reindeer, Roz the Bear, Emo the Elf, Softy the Snowman, Arlo the Penguin, and Santa's helper Kendra have similar North Pole accessories-hats, mittens, presents, candy canes, and cocoa-but only one of them owns all the clues that Santa holds in the following pages. The trick for readers is finding Santa first, as he is hidden in a "Where's Waldo"-like fashion throughout the town. The crowded, busy scenes and cartoon illustrations provide an age-appropriate challenge, and though the perp is found at the end, a page full of bonus searches allows for more holiday fun through multiple readings.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Santa must solve the mysterious disappearance of toys from his workshop through this search-and-find quest with detailed pages full of elves at work and play. The crime? A theft of Christmas toys. The suspects? An elf, a reindeer, a snowman, a polar bear, a penguin and a young girl. The detective? The reader, who must find one clue on each of 11 double-page spreads that are crammed full of elves, toys, packages and animals or items specific to each locale. The cartoon-style illustrations are frantically busy, showing a cast of elves in varied locations at the North Pole and on outings together to places such as a mall and a hockey rink. Santa is in each spread holding the clue, but the elves wear red suits quite similar to Santa's, leading to dozens of nearly identical characters on each page. Illustrations of the suspects are provided, so young detectives must compile a list of the 11 clues and then deduce which suspect is wearing or holding all 11 of those items. The mystery? Slight. The interest level? A quick read for sharp detectives; a frustrating one for those less experienced in clues, mysteries and deductive reasoning. The verdict? Titles in the I Spy genre with multiple searches on each spread have more to offer. Case closed. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062022622
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 585,393
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Hale

Bruce Hale has written and illustrated over thirty books for kids, including Clark the Shark; Clark the Shark Dares to Share; the award-winning Chet Gecko Mystery series; Snoring Beauty, one of Oprah's Recommended Reads for Kids; and the School for S.P.I.E.S. series. In his free time, Bruce enjoys hiking, watching movies, and making music. He lives in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, dog, and many hats.

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