December 4, 2012

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

_DSC0060OH FRIENDS. This is special. I’m ready to get down to brass tacks. I’m not fooling around with my Christmas biz this year. I’m laying it ON YA. I have a book of specialness. A change-your-life special. An imprint the size of a Yeti’s foot across childhood special.

THIS BOOK. OH HOW I LOVE THIS BOOK.

And Julia’s not ready for it, not even close. But I was given this lovely edition of L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus’ last year (my old one was a paperback), and for those of you with kids 8 and up…PLEASE. Just…please. Don’t let this pass you by. Actually, anyone who reads this blog, no matter how old your kiddo is, you need to have this book on your shelf. You can pull it down and taunt your littles with it. “See this? You can read it when you’re bigger.”

I have a thing for L. Frank Baum. OZ??????????? I read EVERY SINGLE OZ BOOK. Even the ones that were written by other authors, like Ruth Plumly Thompson. Ok, I’m lying again. I haven’t read every single one. BUT ALMOST.

And almost is good enough, right? I’d make an awesome athletic coach.

_DSC0066_DSC0064I “knew” about Santa when I read this as a wee lassie.  Catch me? Made no diff to me in terms of my enjoyment. Here was a whole history, laid out in great detail, about how Santa became Santa. It was so far afield of what I had traditionally thought, I was like, whoa this is so radical.

(my 9 yr old self didn’t actually say ‘this is so radical’.)

Knooks. Ryls. The Master Ax-Man of the Woods (he’s nice). Fairies. The flipping MANTLE OF IMMORTALITY. Aw-YEAH.

_DSC0069_DSC0062_DSC0070The story is divided in Santa’s youth, adulthood, and old age. He lives in the Laughing Valley. His adoptive mother was a fairy. Actually, she’s a wood nymph, if we want to be accurate. The Master Woodsman is his mentor and protector.

What else…oh. SANTA IS A BADASS. He has to face the Awgwas, who want to kill him. That doesn’t end well…FOR THE AWGWAS. The magical creatures of the forest poke them with thorns and they bleed out on the plains. And then thistles grow. I’m not joking. Also, that Master Woodsman? Yeah his ax comes in handy in vanquishing the King of the Awgwas. I believe the exact phrase is “cleft the wicked King in twain.”

CLEFT IN TWAIN! That’s what you get for threatening Santa.

You see why this is for 8 and ups? Actually, I don’t know, I can totally see Julia digging this concept. “What’s cleft in twain?” “Cut in half.” “Oh.”

_DSC0077_DSC0079_DSC0078This hardcover edition, oh my stars, it’s a vision! You can also find it used here. Or you can find it new here, for a great price, with a different illustrator.

What’s crucial is that you have the book. This one I’ve shown you is great and all, but all I had was this paperback and I loved it with all of my being. It’s a truly great, and wholly complete imagining of Santa’s life, his world, and how he came into being, written by a true Kid Lit great. How would the man who invented the world of Oz portray Santa? This book is how.

PicMonkey CollageI read and re-read this book so many times, I can't even remember how many times I read it. It’s in my all time favorite Top 10 Childhood Books. You cannot let this story escape you. Ready, set…GO GET THIS ONE.

17 comments:

  1. Consider this book pinned for future purchase. I had no idea it existed!

    P.S. This morning, Miss C. and I had a conversation you're sure to love:

    C: Mommy?
    Me: Yes?
    C: I think Bubby (Master W.) should have been named Chocolate Pudding and I should have been named Hello Kitty.
    Me: Really? (Laughing)
    C: Yep!
    Me: Well, those would have been fun names!
    C: I know!

    :)

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    1. ha ha ha that's so adorable! Hello Kitty and Chocolate Pudding, two of my favorite things!

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  2. I am embarrassed to admit that while I acquired this book (a much lesser version) several years ago, I have not only NOT read it to my children, but I haven't ever read it myself! Promise to get right on that!

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    1. Miss Paula, I'm sure you are still a perfectly lovely person! ;)

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  3. cleft in twain!!!! this is reason enough to get the book. Looks fantastic--I am on the hunt!

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    1. ha ha, I know, so great!! CLEFT IN TWAIN!!

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  4. You always share the coolest most wonderful treasure books!!! I want to read this to myself right away! I've gotta get it. ALSO, please excuse my lack of commenting lately and know I'm still reading... things have been rather rough around here. Thank goodness Whit has the wherewithall to keep our blog afloat. and know that I'm just blown away with your ability to keep on blogging through such a terrible cold.

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    1. I'm like a shark hunter or a boa constrictor slayer....only of books. That sounded perfectly normal right? Don't forget how hopped up on cold meds I was..makes for interesting blogging...

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  5. You are breaking my budget this year with the holiday books! Third Place should pay you a commission. . . . . . . . :D

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    1. ha ha! my dad gave me this book last year. I'm amazed he had the good sense to get it! He had no idea it was one of my favorites from childhood, I had found it on my own as a kid...

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    1. You have a beautiful book there! I tried to read this to Big Sis when she was younger - we were still working on the Oz books - but it really was too much for her then. And we were trying to read the newer version you linked to, and it's only an adaptation! I do need a good copy for myself, though. Old and full color would be best.

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    2. I had a paperback with no color pix and I still loved it! the story is that amazing.

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    3. and i won't even make the attempt with julia for another couple of yrs...her attention span isn't ready for this one yet!

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  7. How on earth do you find such books!??? LOL It will be noted for future presents :-)

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    1. it's just a bizarre little talent I have! my other talent is: name a movie. any movie. chances are almost 95% I can tell you most of the actors in it! it's a useful skill. NOT.

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    2. It is a totally useful skill! I can never remember actor's name and it bugs me so much I have to eventually check on Imdb.com!

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