Out of All The Christmas Books, This Is The One

Out of all of the books I have read to the boys over the years, this book, in fact, this page, was the most treasured one of all.

Here we have Mrs. Clause rolling out cookie dough, while the elves work tirelessly moving trays of cookies in and out of the oven, rolling bags of flour, falling over. There are actually fingerprint smudges from the boys pouring over this exact page.

The illustrations are gorgeous, but what’s even more endearing is the text, which weaves a “search-and-find” theme through each sentence. The text is long, and, as a mom, you think, there’s no way we’re going to read every word of this — but after reading the first few words, you melt into the story, which never wastes a single syllable to point the wide-eyed listeners to the illustration to see what is happening…

“Watch out Grand’pa Elf!” is followed by the mention of Jeepers Elf, who you look for sitting on top of the oven.

This was a book that was not read quickly; we sat for long stretches of time getting through each and every delightful page… because “Santa’s North Pole is such a big place.” And time stood still…as we kept going to see what happens next…

Now that I’ve looked up the book to order as gifts for friends, I realize what a treasure this book really is — and I cringe at those smudges on the pages that are deteriorating this book! This book, Jolly Old Santa Clause, by Sparke, is a collector’s item.

And I was lucky enough to get the anniversary edition in 1996, just a year after my son was born. When I bought it, I had no idea, really, what a treasure this book was. Finding another hardback copy will cost a fortune! Yes, it’s still available in paperback. So, I’m wondering if I order the paperback, or risk getting a “like new” hardback edition and hope that any marks will be accepted with fondness of others who treasured the pages just as much as they will?  There are a few new ones, for $100. 

This year, I have all the Christmas books out, just like I do every year… and they are often forgotten and ignored… So, this time, I put the book on an easel, opened to this very page… and everyone stops to stare…


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