Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen attempt to answer the age-old question – how does the jolly man in red deliver presents?
“Does he go head first?
Or feet first?
Does Santa ever get stuck partway down and need one of his reindeer to give him a kick?
Maybe Santa can turn into fire!”
And if you don’t have a chimney, what happens next?
Does he turn into a letter and come through the mail slot? Maybe through the sink?
Jon and Mac create the best stories together, and it’s often hard to know where Mac’s work starts and Jon’s ends. It reminds me of the magic of Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak, so in sync that you instantly recognize their work together and you know it’s going to be a great read.
They toured a few places for this book, and their sharing did not disappoint.
I love Jon’s Santa, mostly deadpan-faced as per Klassen’s style, but he cracks a smile here on his stamp.
There are lovely spreads and boxed illustrations of Santa’s descent (bum crack included). The full-page spreads are seemingly reserved for Santa and his reindeer on the snowy rooftops.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite but I do enjoy the spread of Santa placing the presents under the tree. I love poring over Jon’s details, three little stockings hang on the mantel, perhaps for the three little ones in the opening dedication? The familiar trees in the painting above the mantel and the feeling of the illuminated star and tree lights, are gentle and feel like a diminuendo.
When Santa greets his reindeer again, they are no longer standing with cups of coffee but on all four hooves ready to go off into the silent night.
With Barnett’s sly humor and Klassen’s understated illustrations, this duo makes Christmas magic plausible. A modern classic I am sure will be read for many Christmases to come.