Book Review: Santa Ate My Gingerbread House by Mark I. Sutherland

santaSanta Ate My Gingerbread House
Author: Mark I. Sutherland
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Dunrobin Kids (November 23, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988461307
ISBN-13: 978-0988461307
SRP: $9.99 (Also available in electronic formats)

Reviewed By: Cheryl Malandrinos

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Tommy loves everything about Christmas: Santa, baby Jesus, presents and decorating. But what he loves most is gingerbread houses. That’s why Tommy is so upset when Santa eats the awesome gingerbread house he made. Tommy decides he would rather be naughty from now on, so he spends the next year doing all sorts of horrible things. Only, it doesn’t turn out quite like he expected.

Sutherland has a way of getting right to the heart of a child. He captures the excitement of waiting for Christmas to come perfectly. Reading it made me feel like a kid again. I must say, if one of my kids did any of things Tommy did during his year on the naughty list, I would blow my stack. And I think that’s why it works. Because Tommy does outrageous things that kids wouldn’t always do.

The beautiful artwork by Julie Hammond catches the eye and captures the heart. Even the more vibrant Christmas colors have been softened to provide a sweet feeling. The drawing of Tommy sticking his tongue out at the family dog when he’s angry is my favorite. Her illustrations are the perfect blend of silly and sweet.

My one challenge with the book is how it ends. Santa Ate My Gingerbread House is up to that point, a light, funny children’s story. At the end, it takes a serious turn by delivering a deeply religious message. Nothing prepared me for that. Nothing indicated that’s the direction the book would go. Though baby Jesus is mentioned at the beginning, that is the only indication faith plays any role in the book until the very end. Sutherland did a fine job of delivering that spiritual message for a child to understand and appreciate, but it catches the reader off guard. I would have liked to see more inferences to faith throughout the book, especially considering how wonderful the message is.

I received an e-copy of this book from the illustrator. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

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