From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1–After an exhausted Santa (who is black) completes his last deliveries and returns home, he is greeted by his wife and elves. He immediately dons his kente and celebrates Kwanzaa with his household–although wouldn't the day that Santa arrives home from his gift-giving be December 25 and not 26? The illustrations of this generously sized book are filled with warm Kwanzaa colors and wide-grinned elves. Unfortunately, the rhymed text, which is similar in rhythm to Clement C. Moore's "'Twas the Night before Christmas," is clunky, with awkward word choices and non-scanning lines. The book assumes some knowledge of Kwanzaa, as its symbols and meaning are barely touched upon. The cheerful, energetic art makes this an adequate choice where picture books on this holiday are in high demand.–E. M.
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PreS-Gr. 2. This seasonal tale by a first-time children' author riffs on Clement Clark Moore's "The Night Before Christmas." It picks up on December twenty-sixth, when the seven-day African American holiday of Kwanzaa begins. Having successfully completed another Christmas run, "Santa Kwaz," an African American, returns to the North Pole, where he's greeted by his family, each child named for one of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa: Nia (pride), Kuumba (creativity), Kujichagulia (outspokenness), Imani (faith/vision), Umoja (community), Ujamma (cooperation and trade) and Ujima (problem solving). Each child gives Santa a gift appropriate to the holiday; then the family makes one final trip to share their Kwanzaa spirit with the rest of the world. Francis' rich artwork puts a fine point on this cultural tale, right down to the kente-cloth-patterned endpapers. Though the Seven Principles are outlined in child-friendly terms on the last page, the book presumes a familiarity with the Kwanzaa celebration, so audiences looking for an introduction to the holiday might want something a little more explanatory. Terry GloverCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved