I have trouble with the idea of readers saying they won't allow their children to read this because it reveals the secret of Santa. As I said in my review, whenever anything is denied a child, it is only going to create more questions. Had this book been denied me as a child, I would have read it at the library to see what the forbidden part was or asked a neighbor to lend it to me and let me read it there so I could see what the mysterious part was.
Preserving a child's innocence is all well and good. However, I've had trouble with Santa for several reasons. I realize this is my own subjective view, but it is a view that has been shared with me by many others. My issues with Santa are as follows:
* I thought Santa was all about conditional love. "Toe the line and meet this/that/or the other goal and then you'll get gifts" which also contained the messages of one having to earn their gifts and is loved only when they appease those in charge. I don't like that. Santa was also held over my head as a threat which I also feel undermined what the Christmas spirit is all about.
* At 4, I thought my own family was mad at me and not getting me gifts. I asked why only Santa brought me gifts. Luckily some quick thinking disabused me of thinking my own family overlooked me at Christmas, but still it did point up to a Santa issue. Kind of makes you think of Blanche DuBois depending on the kindness of strangers.
* I was friends and classmates with two boys, one of whom attended the same church I did. Both boys came from poor families and got next to nothing for Christmas. From the time I was 6 I felt twinges of guilt at the gifts I got when these boys and others got so little. For the following 3 years I wondered why "Santa" didn't do more for them since they needed more. I really thought Santa played favorites.
* Even before I learned about the wonderful history and traditions of Hannuka, I wondered why "Santa" overlooked Jewish families. That convinced me all the more as a very young child that "Santa" played favorites.
* I was given cryptic answers and never told directly that Santa was "just an idea." A very kind peer told me and I will be forever grateful to him for that. Add to it I ran the risk of really embarrassing myself had I said anything about Santa to peers. At 9, which was my last Christmas of believing in Santa, it was a sobering experience to learn that children younger than I was then were already Santa savvy. How I envied them!
* In my individual case, I felt lied to and tricked. To this day I can remember the deep embarrassment I felt once the truth came out about Santa. What's so great about believing in Santa, anyhow? I still wish I'd never believed in Santa in the first place.
* Some relatives and others I know have said the same thing. They all either wish they hadn't believed or feel lucky in having learned early in the game. How I truly wish I'd never believed Santa in the first place!
* I liked when I was taught to extend oneself and to provide cheer for others rather than to acquire gifts. I like the way my church has been instrumental in teaching the message of goodness - pass it on and be actively involved in sharing holiday cheer with others. That works for me.
Still, I think this book does a real service. Not only does it tackle serious topics and even philosophical ones, such as Santa, it is also presented in a very humorous way. Delightful characters and one, like Fudge with a big, literary personality will continue having staying power and will continue to delight readers for time immemorial.