Santa is Coming to…. by Steve Smallman illustrated by Robert Dunn

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Apologies my cat decided this was the time he wanted to play with some ribbon!

Christmas is coming, there’s no stopping it now that it’s November sorry but it’s true and my son and I like a good Christmas book so we’re starting early this year with this one.

This is part of a series of books about Santa doing his Christmas Eve deliveries in various UK locations such as Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Milton Keynes etc each book in the series has localized place names mentioned to make it feel extra special.  As with the usual kind of personalized stories you can see the story would be the same in each book with just local areas, landmarks etc changed.

The basic story starts with Santa looking through his list of children’s names for the location the book is about to see whether the children have been good. They set off to deliver the presents but the new reindeer has wandered off and can’t be found oh dear!

When the reindeer returns they are ready to get to their destination, Santa has gone hi-tech and has a Santa-nav to help him find the correct place. After a bumpy ride with an almost wrong turn Santa finds the correct town and gets to work delivering all the parcels making sure to take a bite out of each mince pie, taking a sip of what has been left (milk in our house), and picks up the carrots for the reindeers. Once all the presents are delivered Santa rewards his trusted reindeers with the carrots he’s collected for them.

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The illustrations by Robert Dunn have a lovely fun quality, with Santa and the reindeer taking centre stage on each page. Monkey enjoyed looking at the reindeer illustrations particularly the one below.

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Monkey enjoyed this story mainly because it was all about Christmas Eve and Santa however didn’t seem to notice the place names and landmarks mentioned even though it was for somewhere near us this is perhaps something only older children would take more note of or perhaps it’s because the areas of the city mentioned are not near us and therefore the connection wasn’t made. It certainly didn’t affect the story for him as he gave it 10/10.

I on the other hand did notice all the landmarks and sometimes it felt like there was too many mentioned. The story is simple ideal for children of all ages as the place names may interest the older children and younger children will love having the place they live mentioned in a book which could help young children learn where they live and lead onto discussing where the other locations are on a map perhaps (something I will try with Monkey).  The illustrations really capture the story and it certainly feels like a lovely read for Christmas Eve therefore I will give the book 9/10 only losing a point because it felt the name of the city was mentioned too many times and didn’t always naturally fit the story ie it didn’t need mentioned 13 times! A good read nonetheless, merry Christmas (nearly)!

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