01 December 2007
Book Review: Saint Nicholas
One of my proudest parenting moments occurred about two years ago when our oldest was almost 3. We were paging through a magazine together and she noticed a picture of Santa Claus. She pointed to it and said, "There's Christmas Guy."
The influence of preschool since then has, I'm afraid, precluded any comparable experiences of triumphant cultural ignorance for our other children, but we're still not a Santa Claus family. So we're really glad that we happened upon Saint Nicholas by Julie Stiegemeyer to soften the blow of this cruel deprivation. It tells the real story, the illustrations are very nice, and the catholic theological setting is just what you'd want. It gets a little wordy toward the end for really young kids, but ours usually hang with it through the story itself. There's also a board book version that I haven't seen, but I would guess that like most board books it trims down the text for younger readers. Add this one to your kids' list if you'd like them to get Santa Claus in perspective, and don't forget to have them put their shoes out on Wednesday night!
(Incidentally, I also grew up in a Santa-free house and was completely shocked to learn sometime in early grade school that other kids actually "believed" in Santa Claus.)