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Book Review

Book Cover

Santa: My Life & Times
An Illustrated Autobiography (Hardback)


Author: Jared Green
Illustrator: Bill Sienkiewicz
Publisher: Titan Books
130 pages
RRP: £21.99, US $24.99, Cdn $33.99
ISBN: 978 1 78773 222 3
Publication Date: 11 September 2019

The autobiography of the Christmas legend, illustrated by twice Emmy-nominated artist Bill Sienkiewicz. This is the true story of Old Kris Kringle’s miraculous life, from his childhood to his toyshop to his first Christmas Eve flight. This hardcover Christmas keepsake is designed for families to read aloud, and features artwork that captures the imagination with its dream-like charm...

Illustrated Christmas books can make the ideal festive stocking filler for the young or young at heart. But with so many to chose from, they really need an angle. Jared Green's Santa: My Life & Times, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz goes for a autobiographical account of Santa's long and varied life and career.

The biggest issue I had with this is that it feels like a book out of time, published 50 years too late. The story of Santa's origins have been told elsewhere, and so I was disappointed to discover that while Green tries to put a new spin on an old tale, ultimately it feels dull and lacklustre. This was a great opportunity to deliver a modern take on an old classic. But what Green delivers is a tale that is unlikely to capture the minds of the young, let alone the parents or grandparents who will be reading this to them.

This is Santa, one of the most beloved and famous individuals that everyone knows, so why didn't Green have a little fun with the book? The humour (if you can call it that) is so outdated that even your great great grandma will think it's a little long in the tooth.

Bill Sienkiewicz's illustrations I found a little creepy and, once again, old fashioned (for the most part). There are some "traditional" Christmas card-esque depictions of Santa and to be honest I think if the book had gone a little further down that road this would have been a more magical offering.

The book's title is confusing too. Not that it really matters much, but if you're buying this online you might think there are two editions (an autobiography and an illustrated autobiography). The front cover has the title as Santa: My Life & Times: An Autobiography, whist inside the book it's Santa: My Life & Times: An Illustrated Autobiography.

Personally, I felt a more fun, modern approach would have resulted in a much more engaging book. As it stands it's nothing overly special.


Nick Smithson

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