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Monday, November 10, 2014

Santa Clauses

It looks like winter today in Minnesota. Half the buses were late at the end of the day (translating to 350 kids in the gym waiting to go home). Coats, snowpants, and boots spilled from the coat hooks onto the floor. A thick layer of ice coated my vehicle. My neighbor kids are still playing in the semi-darkness, savoring this first snowfall.

Perhaps it is fitting, then, to share Bob Raczka's new book today. Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole is a collection of haiku, written by Santa. One poem expresses his thoughts or activities for each day from December 1 to December 25, beginning with an onslaught of letters (what he calls "December's first storm"). The poet likens sprinkled sand to nutmeg, the elves's work to a holiday symphony, heavy workshop sawdust to snow accumulation. With images both beautiful and witty, the poems tell the story of preparation for a sleigh flight over "a toy train layout," with plenty of moments in between to indulge in winter pleasures. Chuck Groenink's artwork is the perfect accompaniment to the  haiku. Full-page spreads in wintry hues dominate the illustrations, and spot art focuses the reader's eye on Santa's skinny shadow or the wolf carolers on a hill. 

Many of my friends buy a holiday book each year for their families. This is the one for us. 

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