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Santa Calls Hardcover – October 2, 2001


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Santa Calls + The Man in the Moon (The Guardians of Childhood) + The Mischievians
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060211334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060211332
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Gather round for an Extraordinary Adventure, circa Christmas 1908, Abilene, Texas. The players are a boy named Art (devoted to "the making of inventions, the quest for adventure, and the fighting and smashing of crime"); his best friend, a Comanche boy named Spaulding; and Art's scorned little sister, Esther. One dusty December day, they find a huge wooden crate accompanied by a note that says, "Open the box. Assemble the contents. Come NORTH. Yours, S.C." The next thing you know, the intrepid trio sets off for the North Pole in the freshly assembled Yuletide Flyer, at Santa's cryptic request. Let the swashbuckling adventure begin! Santa's home is the glittering metropolis of Toyland, described as "the best of the old, the best of the new, and the best that is yet to be." But what's this? Dark Elves and their evil Queen? No one bargained for danger in the North Pole. After a dashing display of heroic and ingenious maneuvering, however, the three children are delivered back home in time for Christmas. But why did Santa call in the first place? He tells them, "Some secrets are best left unsolved." The real secret of this rollicking Christmas tale lies in two facsimile letters attached at the end of the book--Esther's touching note to Santa and his reply. Beloved illustrator William Joyce, creator of George Shrinks and Dinosaur Bob, has managed an unusual feat: an original Christmas story, breathtaking artwork, and adventure tale all rolled into one. (Ages 5 to 9)

From Kirkus Reviews

Joyce's version of a ride on the Polar Express is more style than substance. Just before Christmas, 1908, dashing boy-inventor Art Atchinson Ainsworth; his best friend, Comanche brave Spaulding Littlefeets; and his scorned little sister Esther receive an invitation (complete with futuristic flying machine) to visit Santa. Their visit is climaxed by Esther's dramatic rescue from the Dark Elves and their evil Queen. ``But why did you call for us?'' Art wants to know. Santa answers, ``Some secrets are best left unsolved.'' Art never finds out, but readers do, in two appended letters from Esther (``Dear Santa...what I really wish for is for my brother Art to be my friend'') and Santa (``I'm glad our little adventure did the trick''). Readers may be disappointed to find so unsurprising a gift in such glorious wrapping, but the huge illustrations, rendered with Joyce's usual cinematic, art-deco sensibility, burst with exuberant crowds and visual fanfares, melodramatic poses and clever jokes. Figures have the gloss and solidity of polished wooden models: Art looks like Will Rogers, and Santa like a benevolent tycoon, while the skies over Ozlike Toyland are filled with searchlights and fanciful balloons. Read quickly; linger over the art. (Picture book. 7+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

A true luminary and creative spirit, William Joyce has put his personal stamp on children's media in every direction. His picture books include George Shrinks, Dinosaur Bob and Santa Calls; he's won three Emmy awards for his Rolie Polie Olie animated series; developed character concepts for Toy Story and A Bug's Life; and his films include Robots and Meet the Robinsons. He's currently co-directing The Guardians for DREAMWORKS, and is producing The Leaf Men, based on his picturebook. He lives in Shreveport, LA, and is the founder of Moonbot Studios.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 36 customer reviews
This should be read every December!
sallypend
This is a sweet, touching story that is also packed with action and gloriously illustrated.
M. Heiss
I'd recommend this book to a 7 - 8 year old.
Jane S McCoy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "rrr338" on January 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
"Santa Calls" deserves to take a place among classic children's (age 2 - 104) Christmas books! I can't figure out the Kirkus review comment that this is somehow a take-off on "Polar Express" and "more style than substance."
"Santa Calls" offers MORE than pretty illustrations (they are more like, art-deco "way-cool.") And the story explores, among other things, sibling rivalry, the earnest hopes of children to be accepted fully into family life, the importance of sometimes keeping secrets, and the potential of redemption in misguided kids (Whew! Sounds like a good dose of substance to me!) Best of all, the Mrs. Santa is NOT the stereotypical "Jonathan Winters in drag" sort of depiction. She is classy and stylish (what a coat and hat!) and has a noticeable tinge of self-confidence. THIS is the "Mrs. Claus" that *I* want to believe in!
The end of the book consists of two letters -- one from the central girl character and another which is a response from the Big Guy himself. They appear to be the real things -- conveniently pasted into the back cover of the book! Nice way to get kids to appreciate the art of letter-writing at an early age. Do call on this book, you won't be disappointed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By tlafleur@erols.com on January 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This was a book about a boy that was mean to his sister until a box from santa changes that. This book was about a sister who wanted her brother to be her friend . . . and a secret between Santa and her. I rate the book 9 because it was so good it even told you the letter that she got from Santa at the end of the book. You have to read it! Byron La Fleur (3rd grader)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gwyneth Calvetti VINE VOICE on November 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
William Joyce's books topped the list of family favorites when my boys were smaller. Even as they have passed the "4-8 years" level suggested, this remains a seasonal favorite of my now 10 and 14 year olds. The story is utterly charming and quirky at once. Art and his friend Spaulding discover a mystery box in the back yard one day, which propels them on an adventure that grudgingly includes Art's little sister Esther.
Typical of Joyce's "Dali-esque" illustration, the North Pole takes on a surreal appearance, and the story takes a wild turn, with a neat little surprise in the epilogue. Joyce never fails to delight his readers with his wry view of life. This book is a wonderful foil for the more traditional holiday reads for kids, and one the grown ups can enjoy fully as well.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By nafziger@wpcd.com on November 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I sent this book to my nephews & nieces last year, and it was a huge hit. Both families have children ranging in age from 5-9, and finding read-aloud books that are interesting for everyone is always a challenge. This story was well-loved and enjoyed by the younger kids as well as the old, and its subtle message regarding sibling relationships is perfect for children who are struggling to be "good" for Santa!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Erica on December 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In the weird and wonderful world of William Joyce, everything looks like a Little Nemo cartoon, and "Santa Calls" is no exception. You have to experience Joyce's illustrations to appreciate their lush intricacy, but even they aren't as good as this book's warm story, the tone of which perfectly captures the "Boy's Life" fiction of the American West, circa 1908.
Spunky Art Atchison, along with Spaulding his pal and Esther his little sister have a thrilling adventure after Santa calls them all North. They battle dark elves and evil queens with gee-whiz pluck (and a candy-bomb of Art's own design). But even THAT isn't the big hug in the book---it's the very end that makes this gem a keeper. Few read those two letters and go away untouched.
Every year several gooey Christmas books come out, both religious and secular, and very few are worth much. But years after purchasing this one, we still pull it out and comb the rich pictures for new details. Forget the "Ages 5-9" recommendation for this: "Santa Calls" is for everybody!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Ferguson on December 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pay no attention to the lukewarm spotlight reviews-- those "mass reviewers" are way off track. This is a 5 star book. :)

A magical, gorgeously illustrated tale that will capture kids' imaginations. Parents will love the message revealed at the end of the story-- that family is everything (something Santa understands).

Highly, highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Ekren on November 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. I guess I am a sentimental guy since I usually cry at the end of this book. I do not know why people are so worked up about the elves. The surprise ending of the story is wonderful. One of my favorite Christmas books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diane L. Mathis on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To not give this book a shot is truly a shame! I have been reading this book to my daughter for the last 3 Christmas seasons and she just loves it. When I first read it, I cried at the ending. A very heartfelt, touching story to enjoy year after year. In my mind...a classic. Right up there with The Polar Expess.
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