Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

Santa Retires by David Biedrzycki, 32 pages.
@SPL:  JP Biedr

After so many years of delivering toys to children all over the world every Christmas Eve, Santa was cold and tired – exhausted, in fact. (Was it his imagination that the sacks of presents seemed to be getting heavier, the chimneys smaller, and the weather worse each year?)

Leaving the elves in charge, Santa and Mrs Santa flew to Mistletoe Island Resort for a well-earned vacation. Ahhhh! The weather was warm and Santa felt so relaxed. He swam, played tennis and took surfing and dance lessons - dressed in a hula skirt, of course.

Santa enjoyed himself so much that he decided to retire on the Island.

The reindeer and elves were aghast when they heard the news. They simply couldn’t imagine Christmas without Santa!

Then an odd thing happened. Santa suddenly found that he wasn’t enjoying the surfing, swimming or dancing anymore. Things just weren’t the same. He missed his team.
One day Santa read a newspaper and discovered that things weren’t going very well at the North Pole either.

He flew home that very day. It was true - things were a disaster in the toyshop. Santa and Mrs. Santa went right to work.
The predictable but happy ending to this delightful story of the “jolly old elf himself” and the humorous illustrations will leave young listeners chuckling.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.
On a Snowy Night by Jean Little, 32 pages.
@ SPL: JP Littl

When Brandon was given a little bunny for his fifth birthday, he was enchanted with his new pet. He named her “Rosa” and spent all his time with her, playing with her, grooming her and feeding her.

After a while, though, Brandon became busier and less attentive to his pet – as children often do. At times Rosa felt lonely and neglected.

On Christmas Eve Brandon was excited by the falling snow and took his bunny outside to experience winter. Called inside, he inadvertently left her in the cold.
Rosa tried to find her way back to the house but quickly became lost and cold.

Now other creatures came to her rescue. The Chickadees warmed her with their feathers; a squirrel nudged her onto a found mitten and a raccoon gave her the carrot nose of a snowman to eat. Later, a hawk, flying by, guided her back to the house, where a very worried Brandon was happily reunited with his lost pet.

On a snowy night, on Christmas Eve, kindness and love can be found in unexpected places.

The lovely oil illustrations, created by Brian Deines in soft, muted colours, echo the softly falling snow of the winter evening in this charming story by Jean Little, who has long been one of Canada’s favourite children’s authors.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.
This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 12, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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