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When Santa Fell To Earth Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Paperback, September 1, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–The leader of the Great Christmas Council, one Gerold Geronimus Goblynch, has outlawed all of the old, magical ways. Snowmobiles have replaced reindeer, elves and angels are banned, and noncompliant Santas are turned into chocolate. Niklas Goodfellow is the last real Santa. He and his ramshackle companions–two fat angels named Matilda and Emmanuel, an invisible reindeer, and a bunch of foulmouthed elves (steaming reindeer poo!)–are hiding from the Council. Luckily, local children Ben and Charlotte and Charlotte's dog, Mutt, join forces to save Niklas from a chocolatey fate. Funke's holiday fantasy, originally published in Germany in 1994, appeals on many levels and is surprisingly fresh. Howard's charming drawings, many full page, add just the right touch. Wonderfully imaginative details, adventure, danger, and a brave young Santa who fights to preserve all that is magical and special about Christmas make this a perfect read over a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter's night.–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Now that Funke's U.S. name recognition is rock solid, it will surprise few to see her foreign backlist emerge in English editions. In this illustrated Christmas novel originally published in Germany in 1994, short chapters tell of a grinchy takeover in Yule Land, where the region's crack team of Santas has been forced to submit to new, moneygrubbing policies. A renegade good Santa recruits main-character Ben and a lonely neighborhood girl to help topple the tyrant. Many members of the chapter-book audience will count themselves too worldly to truck with books about Santa, and for every glimmer of the invention that distinguishes Funke's later efforts, there are some odd notes, such as references to Ben's math difficulties, which read like a gleeful endorsement of cheating. Still, there are few Christmas-themed options for children wanting something more substantial than a picture book, and families seeking a seasonal, chapter-a-day read-aloud will find the cookie-cutter story line perfectly palatable alongside eggnog and gathered loved ones. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545094437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545094436
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,496,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ben is just beginning to get excited about the forthcoming holiday season, when he learns that his parents have decided to forgo the chilly weather, and head to a tropical environment where they can hang out in the sun, and sip fruity drinks. This news instantly sends Ben into a downward spiral, leaving him upset, and wishing that Christmas vacation will never come. But when he encounters a strange young man named Niklas Goodfellow, all of Ben's cynical emotions fly out the window. Niklas has seemingly appeared on Ben's street out of nowhere, his colorful caravan sitting in a strange spot. On a dare, Ben runs up to the door of the caravan, and meets the peculiar person, and so starts the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Ben soon learns that Niklas is the last real Santa Claus, and that his caravan - pulled by his currently missing, marzipan-loving reindeer, Twinklestar - crashed to earth in the midst of a storm, and is now stuck on this oft-times money-hungry street as he searches for the snow white colored reindeer, and attempts to fix the wheels on his broken caravan. But Niklas is not alone. He has brought two chubby angels with him - Matilda and Emmanuel - who flit around the good-natured man; along with a chest full of little elves who are preparing presents for all of the good little boys and girls. But there is one thing lurking about Niklas that could put him out of business for good. An extreme evil known only as Gerold Geronimus Golynch - a bad Santa who wants nothing more than to take Niklas' boots, and turn him into a bar of chocolate. But now, with the help of Ben, and a bug-eyed girl named Charlotte, along with her dog Mutt, Niklas plans to fight off Gerold, and bring the true spirit of Christmas back to every girl and boy in the world.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I read this book with my two children, 6 and 8, and while overall we were happy with the characters and the exciting differences in the traditional Santa stories, I was very upset that Ben's reward for besting his bully was to be able to copy off of his tests. The issue was never addressed in any constructive way, even when there were multiple opportunities to do so. It was even rewarded in the end with the father being happy that Ben got a good grade due to his cheating. This didn't seem a very good message for anyone and also didn't seem consistent with the other Funke books we've read. A disappointing thread in the story as well as an unnecessary one that added nothing to the plot.
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Format: Hardcover
A 2006 U.S. release, When Santa Fell to Earth is a less than traditional tale told in Funkesque style. The Great Christmas Council, consisting of hundreds of Santas, goes bad under the leadership of Gerold Geronimus Goblynch. After turning all but one of the reindeer into salami, the money-hungry, tradition-crushing Goblynch unjustly bars Niklas Goodfellow from working as a Santa.

Niklas (who is the last true Santa), two pint-sized angels, and a drawerful of hilariously grumpy elves, find themselves stranded on Earth when their invisible, marzipan-loving reindeer panics in a storm.

"Terrified, Twinklestar reared up, broke his reins, and bolted down toward Earth. Niklas Goodfellow's reindeerless caravan swayed from side to side like a boat on a churning sea. Then it toppled forward into the swirling clouds, Niklas tumbled out of bed, hitting his head on the leg of a chair, and rolled helter-skelter under a table" (Page 2).

With Goblynch's band of giant, evil Nutcrackers in hot pursuit and the threat of being turned into a chocolate Santa looming large, the clan joins forces with two neighborhood kids to set Christmas right.

The poetic style, dazzling imagery and timeless themes Funke is famous for are certainly present in this book, and exquisite pencil drawings by Paul Howard brilliantly complement the richness of her writing. The main question that weighs in my mind is whether a middle grader will buy into the concept of Santa. If so, this book is sure to please.

It's also important to keep in mind that When Santa Fell to Earth is not part of the Inkheart trilogy. With far less sub-plotting, emotion and conflict, this book is shorter and simpler in every way. That's not to say it's less in anyway. It's simply for the youngest end of the 9 to 12-year old range.
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Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to everyone who loves Christmas and hates to say good-bye to it. When Santa Fell to Earth written by Cornelia Funke is certainly not the typical Christmas story. I found the book to be addicting and I did not want to put it down. The author spins a tale about a world where there are many Santas, each Santa has a reindeer, and instead of pulling a sleigh that Santa rides in, the reindeer pulls a caravan. Angels, elves, an evil Santa that wants to change Christmas so there is no magic and just corporate greed, scary nutcrackers, and one really good Santa all help to make this book addictive right to the last page. Believe me, if you were reading the book right now, you would not be able to put it down.

Even though the story is exciting and explains lots of Christmas mysteries, the main character is just an ordinary kid like you and me. He has some problems with math at school, not many friends, and his parents want to go someplace warm during Christmas instead of staying home. Ben becomes part of the tale when he dares to knock on the door of a strange caravan that appears on his street. In the caravan, which magically is bigger inside than what it looks from the outside, Ben meets the last real Santa, Niklas Goodfellow. He also meets two angel helpers, and a group of elves who like to swear. Santa's reindeer, Twinklestar, ran off during the storm that brought the caravan to earth. Luckily, after Ben hears Niklas' story, he and a girl named Charlotte and her dog Mutt are able to find Twinklestar. He had been hiding out in a department store where they had lots of marzipan, his favorite food. Finding an invisible reindeer isn't easy, and Niklas rewards Ben and Charlotte by showing them the elves' workshop inside the caravan.
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