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Gilles Tibo
Translated by Sheila Fischman
Toronto, Doubleday Canada, 1991. 24pp, paper, $8.00
ISBN 0-385-25329-X. Available in French as Deringolade du pere noel. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 2/Ages 5 to 7

Reviewed by Linda Holeman

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

This Christmas story sports a modern-day Santa Claus, complete with mechanical reindeer. He attempts to deliver his presents to a brand new city of unfamiliar skyscrap­ers, but his automatic antlered team lets him down. He is dropped into the strange city, where life is filled with danger, disappoint­ment, and fake Santas. His encounters with street people, policemen, delivery vans and doctors are less than pleasant, and poor Santa, while waiting for a back-up team flown by his elves, takes a job as a handy­man.

I found this ending a little unsatisfactory, as Santa stays in the big bad city, continuing to make toys in a little workshop that he rents with money from his odd jobs. Somehow the warm Christmas feeling was missing for me in this story. Humanizing the "jolly old elf" caused a little of his magic to be lost, but perhaps for children of the 90s this realism will appear natural!

Tibo's illustrations, as always, are delightful. The dreamy water-colour shades soften even the harshest expressions and situations, and young children will find each page covered with tantalizing detail.

Linda Holeman, Winnipeg, Man.

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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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