Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome Book Poster Image
Girl hopes for tiny live gift in gentle holiday story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows the kind of home a hamster needs: a warm, dry box filled with soft sawdust.

Positive Messages

It's OK to dream big and have hope. Sometimes you might not get what you asked for, but you might get something else really wonderful. A good friend will go places with you and listen to you when you talk about your day.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tess is sweet, thoughtful, understanding, and optimistic and works hard to get things ready for the gnome she hopes is coming. She's grateful for the gift she gets, even though it's not what she asked for. Her mom and dad are kind, supportive. Her grandparents don't knock her for believing a gnome will come and help her get things ready for him.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome is a gentle holiday tale by Belgian author An Swerts about a cute little girl named Tess who asks for a gnome in her Christmas letter to Santa. As she hopefully and confidently prepares for his arrival, her grandparents pitch in, making him a tiny bed and quilt. When the big day comes, Santa has a letter for her explaining what she's getting instead. And she's fine with that. It's a charming story that will be very relatable for parents who've faced impossible requests in their own homes. And kids will be drawn in by the super cute art and a sweet main character who sweeps readers up in her fanciful hopes and dreams. 

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What's the story?

Little Tess writes a letter to Santa Claus asking, SANTA, PLEASE BRING ME A GNOME. She wants a real-live one, not a toy, and insists Santa needn't bring her anything else. While she waits, she gets her grandpa to make tiny wooden furniture for her future gnome (a little wooden bed) and her grandma to sew a tiny quilt, and she sets these items in her dollhouse. When Christmas comes and there's no gnome, she finds a letter from Santa explaining why (the backstory involves the gnome who was originally intended for her) and she gets another kind of live gift instead. And she's satisfied.

Is it any good?

This gentle holiday tale has an adorable main character hoping for something that seems an impossible request. And what makes Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome relatable is that Tess' desire is so like live-being requests parents get all the time, for everything from a puppy to a pony to a parakeet. Tess accepts the reason Santa gives in the letter she finds on Christmas morning. And her substitute gift gives her what she's been craving: someone she can do things with who will listen to her "like a real friend." 

Dutch illustrator Eline va Lindenhuizen's soft, cheery watercolor-and-pencil illustrations have a cozy winter feel that perfectly matches the warm tone of the story. Kids will notice the bright red accent of the tiny Santa hat first on the gnome that she imagines in her backpack appearing later on the hamster that actually fits in her backpack in real life.



Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how asking for a gift is shown in Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome. Have you ever written a letter to Santa Claus? Would you like to?

  • Would you like a pet for Christmas? How hard would it be to take care of a live being? What would you need to do?

  • Why do people like gnomes so much? Do you think they're real? How are they different from elves? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

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