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The Animals' Santa

The Animals' Santa

5.0 2
by Jan Brett

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When Big Snowshoe tells Little Snow that the animals’ Santa is coming with presents for everyone, Little Snow wants to know who he is. The animals say they have never seen him.  Maybe he’s a badger, a moose, a polar bear, or a wolf, they tell him.  But this spunky little rabbit thinks they are just fooling him.

On Christmas Eve, Big Snowshoe


When Big Snowshoe tells Little Snow that the animals’ Santa is coming with presents for everyone, Little Snow wants to know who he is. The animals say they have never seen him.  Maybe he’s a badger, a moose, a polar bear, or a wolf, they tell him.  But this spunky little rabbit thinks they are just fooling him.

On Christmas Eve, Big Snowshoe finds a way to see the animals' Santa when a Snowy Owl in a red cap swoops down with a pack full of presents.  Never again will an excited Little Snow doubt that there is an animals' Santa.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As she did in 1996’s The Mitten, Brett evokes a wintry landscape filled with animals, distinguished by her signature level of meticulous detail. On his first Christmas Eve, Little Snow, a rabbit in a North Canadian forest, voices skepticism about the existence of the “animals’ Santa.” After all, no other animals have seen him or spotted his tracks in the snow. Even Little Snow’s friends’ descriptions of gifts Santa has left for them don’t persuade Little Snow, who complains, “I think you are fooling me.” As the animals speculate on Santa’s identity, lemming “elves” are busy in sidebar panels, making birch bark drums, pinecone animals, and other gifts. Native American artwork created with porcupine quills inspired the distinctive patterns that frame these border scenes. The dramatic arrival of Santa—an exquisite snowy owl—is well worth the wait. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Brett's latest holiday offering is set in northern Canada, featuring a cast of forest animals who celebrate Christmas together with handmade gifts left by their own special Santa. On Christmas Eve, Big Snowshoe is explaining the holiday to his younger brother, Little Snow, who is experiencing his first holiday celebration. The older hare and the other animals describe the presents they have received from Santa in the past, though they have never seen him and don't really know who he is. The animals decorate their Christmas tree as they speculate on Santa's identity, suggesting other, larger animals, such as a polar bear or a moose. The main story takes place across the center of each spread, but in Brett's signature structural design, on the side of each page is a separate panel that presents a secondary story. The frames of these detailed panels are done in the style of traditional quillwork, with intricately woven motifs and a central opening in each showing tiny, red-capped lemmings creating Christmas gifts from natural materials. The animals awaken as Christmas presents begin falling from the sky at midnight, and the final spread reveals the animals' Santa as a snowy owl wearing a pointed, red cap and carrying a basket of handmade gifts. Brett excels at snowy settings, and her legions of fans will enjoy this well-told tale accompanied by her usual highly detailed watercolor illustrations and skillfully integrated secondary story. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—The woodland denizens of a northern Canadian forest can't wait for Christmas, because that's when their Santa secretly leaves gifts (heart-shaped stones, bells, acorns, and the like) for everyone. Big Snowshoe the rabbit is absolutely convinced of Santa's existence; Little Snow, his younger brother, is a bit more skeptical, and nothing Big Snowshoe or the other animals say as they decorate a Christmas tree make him feel any differently. Side panels on each page show lemming elves creating the various gifts. A minor accident on the frozen stream gives Big Snowshoe the idea to hang ice crystals on twigs, and the sound they make alerts everyone to the appearance of Santa, who is a snowy owl. As usual, Brett's illustrations are the highlight—lush and magical, filled with whimsical details that will reward repeated viewings. The story itself is adequate (though the twist in which the predator delivers gifts to his normal prey is ingenious) and could play a part in a nonreligious holiday program.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.50(d)
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Jan Brett (www.janbrett.com) is the beloved New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of many books for children. She lives in Norwell, Massachusetts.

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The Animals' Santa 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
TheBumbleGirl1 More than 1 year ago
Jan Brett is one of our most favorite children's writers and illustrators to date. Her books are so intricate, yet inviting and heartwarming. Her beautifully woven stories are fables that are thought-provoking and memorable... In THE ANIMALS' SANTA, Big Snowshoe and his forest friends try to explain to his little brother, Little Snow, that the animals' Santa is coming. Little Snow wants to know who the animals' Santa is. But none of the animals have ever seen who it is that brings them presents every Christmas.  The animals then proceed to tell Little Snow all the gifts they had received the year before. But Little Snow is convinced that it is all not true. Wouldn't someone have seen him by now? Or seen his tracks in the snow? All the animals then try to guess as to who the animals' Santa may be, since there is always snow at Christmas they begin to presume that it has to be large animals that can plow through the elements. But Little Snow gets upset, he is still unconvinced and thinks that everyone is teasing him and trying to trick him into believing in something that no one has seen. On Christmas Eve, when they all go to bed, Big Snowshoe comes up with an idea... and soon enough, they are all awaken to a beautiful discovery! The story itself is engaging and beautiful, however, the illustrations really bring it to life. Throughout the book, the larger panels support the main narrative between Little Snow, Big Snowshoe and the other animals. But on each page, there are smaller panels telling a smaller, quieter story that will engage your little ones curiosity - this side story will encourage your child to create their own story and make their own predictions as to who the animals' Santa could possibly be.  All who love children's stories, pictures books and memorable holiday stories to share with their families will absolutely fall in love with this new heartfelt and joyous Christmas book. *I received a hardcover copy from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
TheIndigoQuill More than 1 year ago
See full review @ The Indigo Quill . blogspot . com If you've ever read the Ukrainian Folktale, The Mitten, then you've experienced Jan Brett at her finest. And if you loved her work then, you will definitely love it now! I was lucky enough to meet Miss Brett at a book signing right here in Springfield at our local library. The last time she was here the wait was over an hour, and that was about 7 or 8 years ago, so this was definitely a treat! The first 20 minutes were Brett teaching us about her method for creating her animal characters. She proceeded to draw a bunny, step-by-step, with a simple set of pencils and markers. Children were able to imitate what she was doing, and some of their pictures were really impressive!  According to Brett, there was no specific inspiration for this book other than her own mere musings as to which creature would make the perfect Santa for the animal world. She came to the conclusion that it could be none other than the majestic Snowy Owl. Why? According to Brett, "He wintered in the Arctic, and I knew that an owl's feathers have a soft leading edge, allowing it to fly without making a sound." Well, that makes sense! Set in northern Canada, The Animals' Santa explores more than just the question of "what kind of animal is Santa?" With the gorgeous, intricate illustrations, you and your child can enjoy the beauty of the wintery wonderland the animals inhabit. Brett uses a Native American approach to the borders of the pages, incorporating an old technique with porcupine quills that create the frames. In the story, the character of Big Snowshoe makes chimes out of thin pieces of ice. Apparently, the thin pieces of ice that cover many of the streams in northern Canada produce ringing tones similar to chimes, so Brett also used this in her story. I thought it was really cool how she still managed to make such a simple plot into an educational experience for children (and adults! I had no idea). I'm completely enthralled by this book. I could look at the pages over and over again just so I can soak in the gorgeous illustrations! I'm very impressed with Jan Brett's dual ability to create such an artistic book, but also have the skill to write the words that go with it. This is a great book for kids ages 3-7, but if you enjoy art, then it's a great book for you, too! Be sure to check out Jan Brett's website where you can find additional materials that coincide with the book, like expansive information on the animals and Christmas card printouts!