Book Review: ‘Tis the Month before Christmas – The True Story of Santa, by Patricia Chapman, illustrated by Richard Hoit

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_tis_the_month_before_christmasPatricia Chapman has written a number of non-fiction books, including the bestselling Dunmore Book of New Zealand Records, and Strange Facts about New Zealand, as well as several novels. Richard Hoit is a freelance illustrator working full time on children’s books, with his work appearing worldwide.

With Christmas not that far away it was fortuitous that I was sent this book to review. It has a rather unique way of approaching the “true” story of how Santa became Santa. There is one story to be read for each day starting on 25 November and finishing on 25 December. Most of us are familiar with advent calendars (usually with a chocolate treat behind each date), so this is a great alternative if you want to avoid sugar overload leading up to Christmas.

Chapman tells the story of Nicolas Klaus, who lives with Grandfather Klaus in a farmhouse built of heavy logs, deep in the forests of Lapland. Grandfather Klaus had a herd of reindeer and Nicholas helped on the farm every day. We also find out how the reindeer got their names – from Prancer, Dancer  Vixen and even Rudolf.

I read this book to Abby aged 4 ½ in one sitting, which is not ideal, but I was keen to see just how much she would retain and what her views were on the conclusion of this story. When Mummy came home from work, one very excited little girl proceeded to tell, in her own words, the story about Santa, proving to me that she definitely had been listening.

The illustrations are fabulous and match the story with ease and with, flowing along gently engaging the listener and reader alike. This is a wonderful book keeping alive the magic of Christmas for children.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

‘Tis the Month Before Christmas – The True Story of Santa
by Patricia Chapman, illustrated by Richard Hoit
Published by Upstart Press
ISBN 9781927262344

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