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*Mrs. Claus Explains It All: (At Last) Answers to the Questions Real Kids Ask!* by Christi Love, illustrated by David Wenzel
Mrs. Claus Explains It All: (At Last) Answers to the Questions Real Kids Ask!
by Christi Love, illustrated by David Wenzel
Ages 3-5 32 pages Sourcebooks Jabberwocky November 2008 Hardcover    

Kids have so many questions about Santam asking them in their Christmas letters to Santa: “What is your house like?” “Where do elves come from?” and “Do you have any children?” Santa has been pretty quiet about life at the North Pole, but now an expert on Santa is ready to talk.

The world’s best expert on Santa Claus is... Mrs. Claus. When she’s not baking in the kitchen or working in her greenhouse, she’s helping Santa and the Elves get ready for the busiest time of the year. As Santa’s second-in-command, Mrs. Claus’s favorite place to help out is in the mailroom. For years, she’s sorted through and helped answer thousands of letters addressed to Santa, but the one thing she has never done is reveal details and secrets about life at the North Pole - until now. Maybe it’s because the North Pole is “the warmest place on ice,” or because Mrs. Claus is always in the Christmas spirit, but she has decided it’s time to answer thirty of the most frequently asked questions about Santa - including the name of his favorite cookie.

Square in shape and bursting with Christmas scenes, this book tries to answer each letter in a way that reveals the history, the good times, and the magic surrounding Christmas. Mrs. Claus talks of Santa’s pre-red suit days when he wore a dark green hooded robe, and what the life of an elf was like before being hired by Santa. As she talks, it may sound like living at the North Pole is all work, but it’s not. The elves like to play board games and invent cooking contests when they have a day off, and Mrs. Claus likes to grow prize-winning orchids. Technology allows Santa to run an efficient workshop and gain entry into any house, but there’s still something magical about how Mr. and Mrs. Claus don’t seem to age and Santa can fly around the world in one night.

One or two questions are answered on every page of this book. Below or beside a child’s hand-written question is Mrs. Claus’s answer. In most instances, the letters are answered in four to five sentences, but a few questions have more in-depth answers. These longer answers appear on the side of the page in a bordered frame of holly and give more detail about such places as the Underground Annex, Command Central, and the Elf Academy.

Children will enjoy looking at the illustrations as the answers are read, especially the eye-catching two-page spread of Santa’s extremely connected village. Illustrations are even sliced to show the inner workings of the underground workshops and warehouses. Santa’s family pictures are featured on another two-page spread of this book, as is close-up of the map room, where Santa’s route is plotted and carefully followed.

Proud as she is of her first book, Mrs. Claus realizes its limitations: it only answers thirty of the countless questions children have about Santa. For those children who still have unanswered questions about Santa Claus and the North Pole, Mrs. Claus will be saving these letters in her Top Priority File and answering them when the holiday rush comes to an end.

Yes, purchasing this book will make the Claus family happy, but it will make Santa believers happy, too. This book would look lovely under a Christmas tree - especially paired with a plate of Santa’s favorite cookies...

Mrs. Claus Explains It All is Christi Love's (aka Elsbeth Claus) first book. When she is not gardening, baking or doing yoga, she enjoys spending time with Santa and their cat Miss Pippy.

David Wenzel has illustrated many notable works, including Robert L. May’s book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a graphic novel of The Hobbit. His art has also appeared on puzzles, greeting cards and collectible figurines. He lives in Connecticut.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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