When Santa Fell to Earth

Common Sense Media says

Santa fights commercialization, kids help, ho hum.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ben repeatedly cheats on tests, with no guilt, author disapproval, or consequences -- except praise.

Violence & scariness

A bad Santa is turned into chocolate; giant nutcrackers attack and threaten.

Language

None, but the author repeatedly says that the elves are swearing.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the author has a very strange approach to Santa Claus, and younger children may find it disturbing to their belief system. Also, the book seems to condone cheating on school tests.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

While flying through the sky in his gypsy caravan during a thunderstorm a couple of weeks before Christmas, Niklas Goodfellow finds himself crashing to earth when his reindeer, Twinklestar, bolts in fear. The caravan ends up on the side of a suburban street, where Niklas and his accompanying angels and elves meet Ben (and later Charlotte).

Niklas explains that the North Pole has been taken over by Gerold Geronimus Goblynch, who is only interested in money and who has brought in modern technology, outsourced the toymaking, turned the Santas into chocolate and the reindeer into salami, employed giant nutcrackers as enforcers, and driven out the elves. Niklas himself is the last real Santa. Now it is, of course, up to the children to help him take Christmas back.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Christmas taken over by greedy corporate interests -- have we heard this before? The only thing new that bestselling German author Cornelia Funke brings to this hackneyed, trite tale is a complete lack of logic. Main character Ben is sort of bullied, of course -- but not really. His parents are rather unfeeling -- until they suddenly become warm and caring.

Bright children will have guessed the whole story by page 37, and the way it unfolds isn't particularly exciting. Funke's name has become a famous brand, and so this book will certainly sell. But it's a disappointment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this concept of Santa compares with the more traditional one. How is it similar? How does it differ? Which is more appealing or realistic?

Book details

Author:Cornelia Funke
Illustrator:Paul Howard
Genre:Holiday
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:November 12, 2006
Number of pages:176
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:7
Read alone:8

This review of When Santa Fell to Earth was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 10 year old Written bybig boobs February 20, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 
biggies
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bybrownie94 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

it was a really great book!

so... there's a santa who is running away from the santa police, (or whatever ya want to call it) and his reindeer got detached right in the middle of the part where people don't believe in santa(i wonder why that happened), and there all tryin' to fix it!!!!

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