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Santa's Underwear Hardcover – August 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Okay, we get that underpants are funny, and the idea that Santa can't find his long underwear when he's getting dressed on Christmas Eve should be as amusing as the elves apparently find it in the illustrations. But, really, the idea just isn't enough to carry a book. Santa's spalike preparations and his various holiday-themed underwear lead to a weak payoff, as the reindeer have replaced his raggedy union suit as a surprise. VERDICT Kelley's watercolor cartoons are nicely done and humorous, but the story is just too one-dimensional.—Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
The cover shows a nearly nude white Santa displaying his rotund belly and a too-small pair of turquoise undies, with two elves laughing hysterically. The story opens on Christmas Eve with Santa eating a healthy dinner, taking a bath, and combing his long, snow-white beard. He is assisted at every step by a crew of cute elves in green and candy-cane-striped suits, his helpers including both elves of color and female elves. (Hurray for elf equality!) Trouble ensues when Santa can't find his favorite set of "old, faded, and saggy" long underwear and finally decides on his green, shamrock-sprinkled long johns. When he opens his closet to put on his red suit, he finds a new set of bright red long underwear, a Christmas gift from his reindeer. Rudolph can be spotted in several illustrations setting up this surprise for Santa. The slight mystery is well-paced, and the different sets of underwear set up some laughter, along with the cavorting elves. Soft-focus illustrations in watercolor and pencil are mostly full-page in size, making this a fine choice for reading aloud to a group.
A troupe of entertaining elves, a jolly Santa, and lots of underwear jokes add up to Christmas chuckles in this engaging story. (Picture book. 3-7)
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The illustrations are whimsical, and the prose is not lyrical - which makes it very easy to read aloud. I doubt this will become a Christmas classic, but it is a refreshing change from the same overdone holiday stories. It's silly and fun, and kids will love it. The target audience is definitely boys ages 3-5.