Author: Hisako Aoki
Illustrator: Ivan Gantscheo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Audience: All ages. However, text is very simple and will be most appealing to a young audience.
Summary: On a cold day in December a fox was walking in the forest and came across Santa Claus fast asleep against a tree. Thinking Christmas had come early, the fox ran off to tell the other animals in the forest and they all gathered excitedly around the tree. When Santa Claus woke up he told the animals how tired he was as he prepared for Christmas Eve and worried aloud that maybe all the heavy presents would be too much for him to carry. The animals, looking alarmed said, “Does that mean there won’t be a Christmas anymore?” Santa Claus then reminded the animals that Christmas doesn’t have anything to do with him and told them the story of Jesus’ birth.
Literary elements at work in the story: This story is set in a forest on a cold day in December. As Santa tells the story of Jesus’ birth, the setting shifts to a “faraway place called Bethlehem.” The text is sweet and simple and includes dialogue between Santa and the animals of the forest. Children will enjoy the setting and the characters but readers older than elementary age may find the language and illustrations a bit juvenile. What is nice about this story is the way it has Santa, who often and unfortunately takes precedence over Jesus during the Christmas season, remind the reader why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
The text of the birth story itself is not taken directly from any translation of the Bible and is basically an abbreviated retelling.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: The story really does not make any statements, direct or indirect, about differences in ability, gender, race, etc. However, by removing the emphasis on Santa and gifts and reminding the reader of the true meaning of Christmas, perhaps the story also reminds us that more money, more extravagance, and bigger gifts should not and do make for a better Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of our Savior and the story of Jesus’ birth is a story for all of us, no matter our differences.
Scripture: Birth narratives in Matthew 1:18-2:12, Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-21, Psalm 150:6
Theology: As the Christmas season approaches, our kids are inundated with Santa and the importance of buying gifts…many, many expensive gifts. This book flips this unfortunate truth on its head. Instead of representing gifts, Santa is now reminding others of the true meaning of Christmas, his “favorite” story. In the end, the animals of the forest realize how silly they have been to “think that Christmas was only about presents.” In this story, Santa is no big deal. The big deal is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and Christmas is our time to celebrate Him.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Why was Santa Claus asleep against the tree? What did the fox think when he found him there? Why were the animals so excited?
- The animals were worried when Santa said the presents might be too heavy for him to deliver. Why? What did the animals think Christmas was all about?
- Santa Claus told the animals his favorite story. What was it? Why did he tell them about the birth of Jesus?
- How did the animals feel after they heard the story? What is the gift God has given us?
- How do you celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas?
Review prepared by Erin Mills, MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2007
Santa’s Favorite Story by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.