Michael G, Montgomery
32 Pages Ages: 4 to 8 (+)
Cover & Jacket: From December first through Christmas, Santa Claus got down to business, making fifty zillion toys for the world’s good girls and boys. All that month, he worked his rear off. Then he took the whole next year off! What does Santa do with his hard-earned vacation time? The same stuff you would do to relax and have fun—and a whole lot more!
Dear Santa, please send a red bike with purple and green stripes on the tires, and a cell phone.
Dear Santa, I must have the Anna-Banana Doll and the cottage condo, the corvette, and the corner office, whatever that is, for dad.
Dear Santa, dear Santa, . . . all of November and December the North Pole gets bag after postal bag of Dear Santa letters. Santa must read all those letters, and then tell the elves what do build. Santa does this all day, every day, without sleep and no time for a treat.
Then on December 24th, at four in the afternoon, North Pole time, Santa leaves with the over packed sleigh for a world-record trip around the world—then back home again in time to go to bed at his regular time: ten at night, North Pole time.
The next day he wakes up, over packs another bag, puts on his civilian clothes, and heads out for a well-deserved vacation. Do you want to know what he does and where he goes? Okay!
In January, he resolves to lose weight so he joins a gym to work out. In March, Santa puts on a disguise and tries to blend in with all of us, but no, he cannot because YOU point him out, yelling, “Santa! Santa! It’s Santa Claus!” So in May, Santa takes a trip to Japan. A little exercise and a few sporting games and he is ready to return.
The rhyming prose makes Santa’s Eleven Months Off an easy read. Mike Reiss has given us a cleverly written story of Santa during the “off season.” If you enjoy picture books that are funny, you came to the right place. Santa’s Eleven Months Off is hilariously comical. Santa does the same things many of us would do on vacation or every day. He eats salads to lose weight—all those cookies and milk trays have him overweight—and he . . . sorry, I cannot say, spoilers and all.
The illustrations are fantastic. When I first opened this book and saw those amazing illustrations, the first words that came to mind were actually a name: Norman Rockwell. Like Rockwell, Mr. Montgomery’s paintings are whimsical, tell a story, and can be a bit absurd, such as Santa the Super-Spy. The painting that most captures the Rockwell feel for me is Santa Singing in the Rain.
Each illustration is expressive, whether it is Santa asleep by the ocean, or Rudolph running in the Summer Reindeer Games, yet the print looks life-like and real. Michael Montgomery has caught the spirit of Santa and displayed that spirit in Santa’s Eleven Months Off for all to see. I want to carefully cut out each and every one of the illustrations and frame them for the wall of my writing room.
Santa’s Eleven Months Off is the perfect post-holiday picture book the entire family will enjoy. The story is wonderful to read with its rhyming and perfect meter. The illustrations are collector worthy.
Children and adults will love Santa’s Eleven Months Off. The big guy becomes like one of us, not the hero who can make it around the world and into every home—chimney or not—and delivery presents for all, even the naughty ones (just don’t let them know).
Author: Mike Reiss website Illustrator: Michael G, Montgomery website Publisher: Peachtree Publishing website Release Date: 2007 ISBN: 978-1-56145-421-1 Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 4 to 8 (+)
Copyright ©2012 by Peachtree Publishing, used with permission.