Book Review: “The Year Santa Lost His List” by Jill Vanderwood #theyearsantalosthislist

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I just posted about getting into the Christmas spirit with a roundup of ways to help you during the holiday season.  One of my favorite ways to get into the spirit of the season, aside from listening to music, is to read books with my children.  My daughter could listen to Christmas music and read holiday books year-round.  What about your kids?  Christmas all the time? Or do they let it have its own time?  I like to reserve it for right around Thanksgiving to keep it special and fun.

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I was provided the book “The Year Santa Lost His List” by Jill Ammon Vanderwood in exchange for my honest review.

The Year Santa Lost His List book review

The back cover of the book reads:

With list in hand, Santa boarded his sleigh on Christmas Eve. Things were going well until a huge gush of wind blew the list right out of Santa’s hand.
Santa still had gifts to deliver, but without his list, he had no idea which gift to deliver to which child.
He brought ice skates to Julie, who always wanted to be an artist.
Noah, whose only interest was baseball, received a guitar and microphone.
Santa was worried that he may not have gotten the gifts delivered to the right children, but he didn’t need to worry. Children will discover, along with Santa the magic that took place, the year Santa lost his list!

Though it’s a children’s book, I excitedly dove into it right after my daughter went to bed.  I was excited about the possibilities awaiting me.  I mean, what could have happened to make Santa lose his list?  It’s unheard of!  And, the kids he’s delivering presents to.  What kind of mix ups were going to happen?

Unfortunately, the book didn’t deliver the excitement I’d expected.  The author tries to appeal to the new generation through a short mention of electronic devices, insinuating that Santa uses things like a tablet and GPS these days.  Not that I could blame him, really.  But, the overall story was set in the days he still used paper for his list and reindeer to guide his sleigh.  Then, in 2 short paragraphs, Santa encountered the reason he lost his list.  A huge “gush” of wind.

From there, the story continues to be rushed.  There’s no grand excitement or to-do about the event.  He continues on delivering presents and was doing his best to give appropriate gifts.  Each page thereafter shows seemingly disappointed children who had aspirations or interest in one hobby, yet receiving a gift that was totally unrelated.    Each of the children were given one sentence to describe what they wanted and what they got.

In another 2 brief paragraphs, you’re catapulted into the adult lives of the children whose presents were mixed up that year.  Each of them had learned a new talent and found interest in their gifts.  And, each of them had made a new career based on them.

I absolutely loved the concept, but I didn’t feel the author was very enthusiastic about the subject.  It all felt forced.  And, by not creating a connection with any of the children, it was really hard to get very excited over the change the mix-up made in their lives.

I believe there is a good lesson to be learned in this book, but I didn’t feel the author put much thought into it.  It had much more potential to be more engaging and entertaining.  I got almost as much from the story itself as I could have from reading the back cover.

The art was very appealing, in my opinion, though it was hard to see emotion in the characters.  Still, not the book’s biggest problem.

If you’re looking to teach your children a lesson about talents and making the best of things, this might be a helpful conversation starter.

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One Response

  1. Jim Gromer November 26, 2016

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