Little Santa



Cute origin story shows how Santa met elves and reindeer.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Shows what life might be like in a very snowy place like the North Pole. It could inspire comparisons to other Santa Claus origin stories, including that of the historical St. Nicholas.

Positive messages

Life's more fun when you have a positive attitude. People can solve problems when they work together. Life doesn't seem so hard when you share good times with friends and family. 

Positive role models

Little Santa is kind, cheery, optimistic, fun-loving, hardworking, and community-minded -- a loving son and good friend. His parents and other family members hate the cold, snowy winters, so they're pretty gloomy, but they cheer up once they begin to make friends and share work with others. 

Violence & scariness

Santa's family gets trapped in their home by a blizzard, but it's not scary. 

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Little Santa is a funny, gentle picture book that imagines Santa's beginnings as a cheery little boy in a grumpy family that's sick of the snowy North Pole and has decided to move to Florida to get out of the cold. The family gets trapped in their home by a blizzard, but it's not scary, and it leads Santa to shimmy up the chimney to get help -- and have fateful encounters with a group of elves and a flying reindeer. Great for read-aloud and sparking discussion of religious and other Santa origin stories. 

Parents say

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What's the story?

Santa's a cheerful little boy in the gloomy Claus family living at the North Pole. The family's packing up to get out of the cold and move to Florida when a blizzard snows them in and little Santa shimmies up the chimney to get help. On his way he meets elves and a flying reindeer -- and slides back down the chimney to save the day.

Is it any good?


LITTLE SANTA is a fresh origin story that shows how a pot-bellied little boy in a red onesie grew up to be Santa Claus. It has more to do with the North Pole's snowy climate than Christmas, but there are two scenes that show the decorating of a pine tree (one by Santa, one by the elves), and a flash-forward shows the familiar, white-bearded Santa on a rooftop with his team of reindeer, ready to plunge down the chimney with his sack of toys.

Author-illustrator Jon Agee's art is adorable, his humor sly and deadpan. It's perfect for read-aloud, and kids will have fun imagining what Santa was like as a little kid meeting a flying reindeer and tiny, industrious, elf craftsmen for the first time. There's no hint of the historical, religious, European origin of St. Nicholas.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Santa Claus. Have you ever thought of his life as a kid? Do you think he grew up at the North Pole, or have you heard some other story of where he came from? 

  • What other stories about Santa have you liked in books or movies? 

  • Make up your own story about Santa, imagining that he grew up in your town. What would his life have been like there? Would his family have been too cold? Too hot? 

Book details

Author:Jon Agee
Illustrator:Jon Agee
Topics:Friendship, Holidays
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:October 17, 2013
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 5
Read aloud:3 - 6
Read alone:6 - 7
Available on:Nook, Hardback, Kindle
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byAndro-A January 3, 2015


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