The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, Jon J Muth (illustrator)

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I thought I might take a moment today to share a book I bought this year.  I am a big fan of Jon J. Muth. We have a number of his books and my children particularly enjoy reading his zen stories featuring Stillwater the panda (Zen Shorts, Zen Ties & Zen Ghosts).

So when I stumbled upon The Christmas Magic while out shopping I knew I had to get it. And rather than wrap it as a gift I brought it home and we read it for bedtime stories in preparation for Christmas.

As Booklists notes, this is not your classic Santa:

Children get a different Santa than they are used to in a book that focuses on the quiet preparation that leads to Christmas. Far, far north, this Santa Claus is not a jolly old elf, but rather a thin, subdued fellow in a blue suit. There’s no Mrs. Claus—well, Santa darns his own socks—nor are there busy elves. Just reindeer called home from a snowy wilderness who are fed parsnips and berries before their long journey. Alone, Santa readies his sleigh and visits a room with toys, where he picks one for each boy and girl in his book. Finally the night “thrums with magic,” and Santa embarks on his vast journey. It’s the air of magic and mystery, which prevails in both text and art, that will capture children’s interest and allow them to accept a Santa who is not the norm. This is primarily true in the majestic outdoor spreads that are all stars and snow and sing of unknown possibilities. But even the cozy indoor scenes have a slightly unsettling feel that will intrigue readers. A new take on an iconic figure.

The story is simple but whimsical and mysterious. It hints at the magic and beauty of the north.  Muth’s wondrous watercolors bring the story to life. Santa is kind and full of joy even without the extra weight.

The snow and stars are so enchanting that you wish you could climb into the story and experience the crisp winter nights where each snowflake seems to sparkle and the stars are bright and clear.  The deer are soft and friendly, like beloved companions who cheirsh the seasons as much as Santa, even as they sport wide grins in a couple of the illustrations.

If you are looking for a Christmas picture book with a different take on Santa this is a great choice.  A wonderful story with beautiful art sure to be enjoyed for many, many seasons.


Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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