Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 06 Oct 2023

Little Santa by Jon Agee

Have you ever spent a little time thinking about what some of the iconic figures of our cultural landscape were like when they were just children? Was Gandalf ever a naughty little boy? Did the Tooth Fairy have a favourite cuddly toy? What was Hagrid up to as a schoolboy? And, perhaps most intriguingly, what was Santa Claus like as a young boy?

Well, in the case of Santa, U.S. author/illustrator, Jon Agee has finally given us an answer in his delightful picture book, Little Santa.

The Claus family – mom, dad and seven children (including Santa) live in a little cabin in the North Pole. Life is hard – chopping wood, shovelling snow, catching fish, stoking fires and mending clothes – and the Clauses are about as miserable as you can get. All of them, that is, except for little Santa who just loves his life at the North Pole, where sliding down the chimney is one of his favourite pastimes.

But there’s a shock on the way for Santa – the family decide the time has come to move to Florida and get some sun. That night they pack ready to leave but when the morning dawns they discover that a huge snowstorm has trapped them in their cabin and there’s no way out.

Except, of course, for the chimney. And there’s only one person best suited for going up the chimney on a mission to find help - Little Santa.

There’s a meeting with a magical flying reindeer, a house full of elves who club together to make a sleigh and a rescue mission to release his family from their buried home. With the help of all the elves not only are the family reunited with little Santa but the elves stick around to make the life of the Clauses a whole lot easier over the coming year.

But come the winter, the Clauses decide this time they'll leave for Florida for good and all – but they leave Santa behind happy that he'll be quite safe there with the elves. 

“And you know the rest of the story.”

 Agee’s illustrations are big and bold and he leaves plenty of white space for the characters to live in – which gives the drawings lots of clean, decisive outlines.

The book is published by Scallywag Press and I really like the way they describe this on the title page as ‘a book to share’ because younger children will have tremendous fun reading this with a parent or teacher. The year is turning now and we’ll soon be deep into Christmas territory – so why not make this a present for someone you know?

You will be able to get this from your local independent bookshop – who will be glad to order it for you if they don’t have it on the shelf.


Terry Potter

October 2023