‘Sad Santa‘ by Tad Carpenter (published by Sterling)
Books with a limited colour palette may stand out among the brightly coloured array of children’s books we are more used to seeing, but that obviously doesn’t guarantee that anything else about the book is going to be outstanding. In this case, however, the story is a great little insight into how Father Christmas feels once he’s delivered all the presents – and it’s quite different from Raymond Briggs’ take on things (check out our review of his books here).
Tad Carpenter’s Father Christmas (I find it really hard to call him Santa, for some reason) is devastated on Boxing Day, bereft that his job is over for another year.
Everyone tries to cheer him up but to no avail, though he does agree to load up the sleigh and go on a relaxing beach holiday in an attempt to improve his mood. That doesn’t work, but while he’s there he gets a letter from a child asking for presents for his family (they say that Christmas starts earlier every year, but sending your wish list on December 26th seems excessive nonetheless…) that Father Christmas isn’t quite sure how to make. Inspired, he rushes home and immediately starts planning, which helps him to realise that his job still matters on the other 364 days of the year.
For me, the ending is slightly OTT and schmaltzy, but it’s a small point when balanced out against the rest of the book. It is the illustrations that make this book shine and it’s definitely a novelty to see a Christmas book that offers a twist on the red and green theme – this book is worth it for the style factor alone!