Parents' Guide to

The Return of the Christmas Witch

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Santa's sister asks him to save Christmas in lighter sequel.

cover of The Return of the Christmas Witch

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This lengthy story is stuffed with many threads and themes that may be challenging for kids to follow. First there's The Return of the Christmas Witch, who wakes up from where she was frozen in the ice but has lost her magic powers, which she'll gain back after her mother witch sends her messages in her dreams. She's still out for revenge on her brother, Santa, for abandoning her as a child, but she also wants him to save Christmas, which has become too commercial, thanks to the Kringle Corporation, started by North Pole elves after Santa gave up on Christmas. Meanwhile, Poppy, a tween whose dad works for Kringle delivering Christmas gifts, is spying on the Christmas Witch who's hiding out nearby in a forest along Delaware Bay, where she and her Native American family live. (We only know she's Native American by one reference to her Lanape grandfather and the designs on some textiles in her home.) The Christmas Witch breaks out Santa's magical reindeer Donner when she finds him caged in a traveling Christmas festival. And rides him up to a sky showdown with Santa and ends up rescuing him after the black smoke and wind she conjured up causes him to fall out of his sleigh.

It's really a lot to keep track of. But the story resolves in a happy, positive way, and overall it's less dark than Book 1, with appealing art and positive messages about forgiveness and resisting the commercialism of Christmas.

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