The bestselling adult novelist wraps up his first picture book with a big green bow on the shiny red jacket. But the contents may leave readers wanting. "Hiya! My name is Chrissie/ and I live at the North Pole./ Pretty cool, huh?" sets the oleaginous tone for this far-reaching fantasy. Why does Chrissie frequent Santa's Toy Workshop and play with the elves and reindeer? Because she's "Santa's little girl." She debunks some beliefs about her dad (he's heart-healthy and thin, for instance; he only sprouts a beard and dresses up for his annual sleigh ride) and wards off a hostile takeover of Christmas by the Big Boss of the Exmass Express company (who manufactures toys like Princess PeePee and PooPoo). Garland's crisp digital images add zip to the action and warmth to the bond between Santa and his daughter, but can't compensate for the didactic moral. Ages 3-6. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
James Patterson has been a favorite author of mine in the mystery genre for decades. Imagine my surprise when I saw a Christmas book written by none other than Patterson. Santa's daughter Chrissi, is a regular child who has a regular dad most of the year. Only at Christmas does her father become the Santa we all know and love. Chrissi has the same questions other children have been asking for years. How does Santa reach all the children in just one night; how does he know all the addresses; and just how do all the presents fit in just one sleigh? Each time she asks her dad a question, he just tells her to believe. About the time Santa starts growing his beard and putting on weight for Christmas, a villain enters the story, Warrie Ransom. He not only buys the North Pole but also Christmas Eve. Santa becomes so depressed that he can't get out of bed to do his job, so Chrissie must come to the rescue. Will the children of the world be disappointed? The illustrations are awesome and the facial expressions just bring smiles to the reader's face. This is a perfect read-a-loud book to share with children and I believe it will become a tradition just like favorite foods and decorations. It will find its place on the shelf beside "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Patterson does an absolutely wonderful job writing for children. 2004, Little Brown and Company, Ages 3 to 9.
Kathie M. Josephs
K-Gr 3-From the best-selling writer of books for adults comes a tale of corporate greed. Young Chrissie, daughter of Santa and Mrs. Claus, describes her enviable life at the North Pole-until Christmas is bought out by Exmas Express and Santa's workshop is run like a business, with predictably disastrous results. When her father becomes dispirited and can't make his usual rounds, Chrissie takes over and saves the day. This is a sprightly and entertaining tale that begs to be read aloud, appropriately accompanied by slick digital illustrations. This modern-looking yet ultimately charming book should appeal to many kids.-E. M. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.