Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

Editors' Note

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the rest of the week, we're taking a break to give thanks for many things. This is our last issue until Monday, November 28. Enjoy the holidays, and may all booksellers have an excellent Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Indies First celebrations! (Feel free on Sunday to send reports about Indies First, with pictures if possible, to

Minotaur Books: A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #18) by Louise Penny


Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance Unveiled

Spurred on in part by Amazon's plan to open its third bricks-and-mortar bookstore next spring in Chicago, Ill., 23 independent bookstores in the Chicago area have banded together to create ChIBA, the Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance.

ChIBA's mission is to promote the ways "independent bookstores create, serve and celebrate local and neighborhood communities," and according to the ChIBA manifesto, member booksellers "vow to move forward in a true spirit of collaboration between ChIBA member stores, and in our unifying desire to foster connection between the bookstores, authors and readers of Chicagoland."

ChIBA has created a Facebook page called MyChicagoIndie, through which any ChIBA member can promote and discuss events at their own and others' stores, as well as with the hashtag #mychicagoindie, which booksellers, authors or readers can use to show support for the indie bookstore community on social media. ChIBA has already hosted an informal meeting to discuss ways authors can actively support indies, which include bringing writing and literature students to literary events and partnering with a specific indie bookstore as the main source for signed copies.

The alliance is also working to establish a series of awards recognizing "achievements in the Chicago literary community that are not strictly writing-related." The first award will be presented on December 8 at the Chicago Review of Books award ceremony and will honor an author-activist who has "actively promoted indie bookstores this year." And in addition to several as-yet-unannounced initiatives, ChIBA will work to educate book buyers about the negative effects of shopping online with Amazon.

Nina Barrett, the owner of Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., described ChIBA's efforts as an extremely collaborative process, with various Chicago booksellers taking the lead on different tasks. Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck of Women & Children First, for example, are monitoring developments with Amazon and any new or existing studies that detail the negative effects of their business practices. Volumes Bookcafe's Rebecca George organized the MyChicago Indie Facebook page. RoscoeBooks owner Erika VanDam wrote the group's manifesto. And Barrett herself has been focusing on getting local authors involved.

Finally, ChIBA reminds shoppers: "This holiday season, you can 'vote' with your dollars for the kinds of stores, neighborhoods, and cities you want your children to have. When you shop at Chicagoland indies, you pay with dollars, not with data. When you shop Chicagoland indies, you build community, not an empire." --Alex Mutter

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

B&N's New Concept Store Opens in Eastchester, N.Y.

Yesterday, Barnes & Noble opened its new concept store in Eastchester, N.Y. The Journal News reported that the "bookseller's first 'kitchen' concept store, designed by firm Avroko with assistance from Italian architect Miguel Sal, features a full-service restaurant, an outdoor patio and, of course, books," though the location "sacrificed book space to add the 2,600-square-foot restaurant, which can seat more than 80 people" and is the first B&N to offer alcoholic beverages. "There's also a 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio with seating, a fire pit and bocce courts."

David Deason, B&N's v-p of development, said, "It's been a while since we had really gone after an overall new aesthetic. This is an effort and a commitment to updating what a great bookstore environment should be. The objective wasn't to be contemporary, it was to be fresh and make it approachable." B&N plans to open similar stores in four other locations: Edina, Minn.; Folsom, Calif.; Loudon, Va.; and Plano, Tex., most by the end of the year.

Interior of the new Barnes & Noble (photo: Chris Kerr)

Store manager Kathie Bannon, who oversaw the Borders bookstore that once operated in the space, observed: "Hearing and feeling what Borders meant to the community--a place they identified with and they came to share their love of reading--it was a big loss. Now that we're able to bring that back again in a big way, in a very beautiful way, that's the special thing to me."

She also noted that "every single section has been specifically curated for this store and for this customer. It's the best of the best. It's just an edited version of what we have in our big Barnes & Noble stores but this being our new prototype store, it offers a more curated selection."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

B&N Stock Up After Positive Negative Quarterly Report

Even though Barnes & Noble yesterday reported a 4% total sales decline, a 3.2% sales decline at stores open at least a year and a net loss of $20.4 million in the second quarter ended October 29, the sales drops were less than stock analysts expected and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization improved significantly, leading B&N stock to jump 10.5%, to $12.65 a share, on more than double the usual trading volume.

In a conference call with analysts yesterday (transcript by Seeking Alpha), B&N chairman and CEO Len Riggio said the company doesn't know "at this moment where the new norm is," but expects that sales will improve now that presidential campaigning is over. He offered unusual details about the election's effect, saying that same-store sales declines occurred during a nearly two-month period in the fall during evening "TV viewing hours," when the company assumes people were "preoccupied watching the election coverage." At other times during the day, however, sales were "normal or even better than normal." Riggio predicted that B&N "will be back on track before the holidays and through the holidays."

Noting that he is now "serving as CEO" again, Riggio added that "for the record, I'm enjoying every aspect of being in the seat. I am energized, and as always, I see more opportunities than challenges."

In an aside about sales, CFO Allen Lindstrom indicated that the sale of coloring books at B&N may have stopped growing as phenomenally as it has the past few years, when he observed that same-store sales in the quarter were "pressured by comparisons to the strengths of coloring books [sales] last year."

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

British Bookshops (& One in the U.S.) Prep for 'Civilized' Weekend

Independent bookshops in the U.K. are gearing up for Civilized Saturday, which was launched last year as an antidote to Black Friday mayhem. The Bookseller reported that "Great British Bake Off-inspired events, wine, chocolate and the coziness Danish lifestyle philosophy of hygge feature heavily in genteel plans for the day."

Former Great British Bake Off host Mary Berry will be signing copies of her new book, Mary Berry's Family Sunday Lunches, at the Chorleywood Bookshop in Hertfordshire, where "civilized refreshments" will be on display. The Bookshop in East Grinstead is having a "Bookshop Bake Off" charity cake sale.

Wenlock Books in Shropshire is hosting a hygge-inspired Civilized Saturday centered on "coziness, warmth and relaxed Christmas shopping." Picaresque Books & Galerie in Fantoosh "is also joining in with the hygge theme, offering mince pies, chocolate and mulled wine, as well as an orchestral ensemble to create a 'relaxed and entertaining environment' for shoppers," the Bookseller noted. Helen Whipp of This Forest will be at Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath "to bring some natural calm to the day by pressing flowers between pages of books across the bookshop for customers to discover as they browse."

"This year's Civilized Saturday is bigger and better than last year," said a spokesperson for the Booksellers Association. "Booksellers across the country will also be on hand to help recommend this year's must-buy Christmas books."

At least one bookstore in the U.S. was inspired to get in on the low-key fun. Bridgeside Books, Waterbury, Vt., will celebrate Civilized Friday this week: "In the spirit of Giving, being Thankful and Civilized, Bridgeside Books offers A Civilized Friday to our friends, supporters, and customers. Join us throughout the day for delicious mimosas, tea and sweet treats, hand massage and live music."

Amazon to Open Third Nevada Warehouse

Amazon plans to open its third Nevada fulfillment center in North Las Vegas, Nev. The 800,000-square-foot facility will join existing warehouses in Reno and North Las Vegas. Governor Brian Sandoval called the announcement "terrific news for our state."

Akash Chauhan, Amazon's v-p of North American operations, said: "Our ability to expand Nevada operations is the result of two things: incredible customers and an outstanding workforce in the state."

Obituary Note: Jonathan Clowes

Jonathan Clowes, the literary agent who "assembled a select and high-powered client list," including Len Deighton, Maureen Duffy, Doris Lessing, Sir Kingsley Amis, Elizabeth Jane Howard and Brian Freemantle, died November 18, the Bookseller reported. He was 86.

In a statement announcing the death of its founder, Jonathan Clowes Ltd. said: "Jonathan was a unique man who led a varied life--first as conscientious objector, then active communist and thereafter as a trailblazing and extraordinarily successful agent to writers such as Len Deighton and Doris Lessing. We will continue to embrace his renegade, and quietly commanding, spirit in all we do."

A spokesperson for the agency commented: "He carried his strong sense of ethics through to his work as an agent, quickly becoming known throughout the industry as a quietly commanding and tenacious negotiator, who always held the interests of his clients close to heart. He built close relationships with the authors he represented."


Image of the Day: Golden Arches, Good Books

Blake Casper and Allison Casper Adams, the owners of the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Fla., are the grandchildren of Fritz Casper, who opened the first McDonald's in Florida. They still run the franchises in Northern Florida that their grandfather built, so they had a lively conversation with author Lisa Napoli about her book Ray & Joan (Dutton), which explores the lives of Ray Kroc, who made a fortune developing the McDonald's franchises, and his philanthropist wife, Joan. Pictured: (l.-r.) Blake Casper, Lisa Napoli, Allison Casper Adams, and Cynthia Smoot, anchor on Tampa's FOX 13 TV. (photo courtesy Cynthia Smoot)

Happy Birthday, Flying Pig Bookstore!

Congratulations to the Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, Vt., which turns 20 today and will celebrate its anniversary Saturday with cupcakes, cider, and customer memories. Josie Leavitt, co-owner with Elizabeth Bluemle of the Pannell Award-winning bookshop, said, "Small Business Saturday seems like the perfect day to raise a toast to our little store." 

Bluemle added: "It's amazing how much the bookselling world has changed since we first opened our doors. Online stores didn't exist, and chain stores were only just starting to gain a foothold. It was almost viable to open a bookstore in a town of 3,500 people.... Almost."

Leavitt and Bluemle moved to Charlotte from New York City in 1996, planning to continue their teaching and writing careers until they noticed a small building for lease in the village, and the idea to launch a small bookshop was born.

"We both had teaching backgrounds, master's degrees in education, and experience with kids from age three through high school," Leavitt recalled. "We had taught reading to literacy students. We had entrepreneurial enthusiasm. And above all, we had a knowledge and love of books."

Opening day happened a scant 10 weeks later. "It was crazy. Impossible," Bluemle said. "But we knew we needed to open for the holiday season, so somehow, we did it."

'The Thankful Bookseller'

The Harvard Square turkey checking out Harvard Book Store (photo: @diane_xy)

In recent days our e-mail inbox has been a cornucopia of independent booksellers offering messages of gratitude for their patrons and staff. Here's just a sampling:

Russo's Books, Bakersfield, Calif.: "The Thankful Bookseller... Every year at this time retailers thank their loyal customers, and we are certainly no different. Without your sticking with us we would be but a distant memory. However, with you we remain a vibrant, active member of our community and a strong advocate for books and reading. I would, however, like to publicly pay special homage to another group that my parents, Tony & Kathy, and I are eternally grateful to... our staff. We have called upon Jason, Michele, Erin, Jenn, Lynn, Jacquelyn, and Thomas more than ever in recent weeks. Thank you guys... without you there would be no Russo's Books, no local bookseller."

Broadway Books, Portland, Ore.: "We are Thankful for YOU! We wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend!"

Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.: "It's a busy week for Odyssey staff and customers alike as we get ready for Thanksgiving, followed by IndiesFirst on Small Business Saturday. Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the things we give thanks for in our lives. So whether you're at home or traveling, whether you're doing a traditional feast with family or hosting/attending a Friendsgiving, please know that we at Odyssey are grateful for you and all that you do for us."

Nantucket Book Partners, Nantucket, Mass.: "Happy Thanksgiving from your Nantucket Book Partners! We are thankful for books this week, as well as all of the Nantucket Bookworms and readers that visit us at Mitchell's & Bookworks, follow us on social media, and shop online with us throughout the year. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for reading!"

Antigone Books, Tucson, Ariz.: "Happy Thanksgiving! The store will be closed on Thursday, November 24 and will reopen Friday at 10 AM for the post-Thanksgiving sale! Be there or be gourd-shaped!"

And, finally, this update arrived yesterday from Pamela French, executive director of the Book industry Charitable Foundation: "When the book community comes together--great things happen! As we begin this holiday season, the Binc Foundation and Parnassus Books would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of the 'Bank on Booksellers' auction participants, authors, artists, musicians, celebrities, bidders and piggy bank winners for helping to raise almost $35,000. Bringing comfort, joy and peace of mind to booksellers in need in Nashville and beyond--thank you!"

Thanksgiving Sidewalk Board of the Day: Malaprop's Bookstore

Malaprop's Bookstore, Asheville, N.C., tweeted pics of its "Well-behaved books seldom make history" sidewalk sandwich board, noting: "This week, we are thankful for the folks who continue to fight to keep these history-making books on our shelves."

Three Indie Bookstores Vie for Small Biz Award

Four independent bookstores are among the 25 quarter-finalists for Independent We Stand's Independent Small Business of the Year Award, which was launched in 2011 to "recognize a locally-owned small business that has gone above and beyond to deliver great customer service and community support." Voting is now open for the 10 semifinalists. The top vote-getter will be declared this year's winner. Booksellers still in contention are:

Afterwords Books, Edwardsville, Ill.
From My Shelf Books & Gifts, Wellsboro, Pa.
The Bookshelf, Thomasville, Ga.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Megyn Kelly on the Today Show

Today Show: Megyn Kelly, author of Settle for More (Harper, $29.99, 9780062494603).

Live with Kelly: Bryan Cranston, author of A Life in Parts (Scribner, $27, 9781476793856).

Also on Live with Kelly: Carson Kressley, co-author of Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big?: A Cheeky Guide to Feeling Sexier in Your Own Skin & Unleashing Your Personal Style (St. Martin's Griffin, $25.99, 9781250085580).

Diane Rehm repeat: Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt, authors of The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss (Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942).

Live with Kelly: Andy Cohen, author of Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries (Holt, $27, 9781250116482), co-hosts.

All Things Considered interviews publisher Benedikt Taschen, Hank Hine from the Dalí Museum and Montse Aguer from the Dalí Foundation about Les Dîners de Gala by Salvador Dalí (Taschen, $59.99, 9783836508766), the first reprint of the 1973 cookbook. In addition, chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo will re-create a recipe from the book.

This Weekend on Book TV: Melanie Kirkpatrick on Thanksgiving

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Thursday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Thursday, November 24
12 p.m. Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience (Encounter Books, $25.99, 9781594038938). (Re-airs Thursday at 8 p.m. and Friday at 5 a.m.)

Saturday, November 26
2:30 p.m. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker, authors of "All the Real Indians Died Off": And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans (Beacon Press, $15, 9780807062654). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.)

6:45 p.m. David Barron, author of Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781451681970). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

10 p.m. Gary Younge, author of Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives (Nation Books, $25.99, 9781568589756). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3:15 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Young People's; Costa

David Macaulay won the £10,000 (about $12,435) Royal Society's Young People's Book Prize, which honors the best science books for under-14s, for How Machines Work, the Bookseller reported. Chair of judges Dame Julia Higgins said: "This book isn't just dry pages about what engineering is. It's a very exciting story about a sloth that has to get somewhere and in order to get to where he's going he has to build levers, he has to build bridges. Each of the pages is about how he designs a solution to a problem--just what an engineer must do."


Shortlists for the 2016 Costa Book Awards have been released. Category winners, who each receive £5,000 (about $7,605), will be announced January 3, with the overall £30,000 (about $37,300) Costa Book of the Year winner named January 31. The nominees:

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain   

First novel
The Good Guy by Susan Beale    
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years by John Guy    
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar
I'm Not With the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music by Sylvia Patterson   

Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
Say Something Back by Denise Riley
Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest

Children's book
The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 29:

Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis: The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice (Knopf, $28.95, 9780385353793) is book 12 in the Vampire Chronicles series.

The Whole Town's Talking: A Novel by Fannie Flagg (Random House, $28, 9781400065950) takes place in the small town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where something strange is happening in the town's graveyard.

The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved (Crown Forum, $29, 9780553447262) takes a religious view of American history.

How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France (Knopf, $30, 9780307700636) is a history of the fight against AIDS.

My Turn: A Life of Total Football by Johan Cruyff (Nation Books, $26.99, 9781568585710) is the memoir of the Dutch soccer player and manager.

Big Bear, Small Mouse by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781481459716) is a picture-book introduction to opposites from the creators of Bear's New Friend.

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell (Scholastic Press, $18.99, 9780545941082) is a YA contemporary thriller of mystery and madness set on the Isle of Skye.

The Battle of Hackham Heath (Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years) by John Flanagan (Philomel, $18.99, 9780399163623) is the second prequel to The Ruins of Gorlan, Book 1 of the Ranger's Apprentice epic.

Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) by Elizabeth Hoyt (Grand Central, $7.99, 9781455539123).

Santa Books for the Ho Ho Holidays

Santa Claus makes mistakes, gets a stowaway on his sleigh, and doubts the existence of a boy named Harold in this cheery collection of Santa picture books for 2016.

Presents Through the Window by Taro Gomi (Chronicle, $15.99, hardcover, 9781452151380, 36p., ages 2-5, September 20, 2016) 
In Japanese author-illustrator Taro Gomi's delightfully offbeat Christmas story, a helicopter-traveling, pink-suited Santa peers through house windows to determine which gift he will deliver to whoever lives there. Clever die-cut windows show just a piece of the bigger picture, and children will quickly catch on that Santa needs to look a little closer at the houses' inhabitants before deciding on appropriate presents. No, Santa, that's not a zebra you're seeing, it's three white swans! They won't want one scarf, will they? Those aren't the ears of a sly fox, it's the jagged back of a crocodile! Fortunately, everyone is happy with their mismatched gifts. Preschoolers will giggle gleefully at Santa's mix-ups and Gomi's clean, comical illustrations.

Christmas for Greta and Gracie by Yasmeen Ismail (Nosy Crow/Candlewick, $15.99, hardcover, 9780763689438, 32p., ages 3-7, September 27, 2016)
Greta and her little bunny sister Gracie may have the same smile and same "hoppity-skip" walk, but Greta has a lot more to say than Gracie, telling her how to do things ("No, Gracie! Like this! Like this!") and taking over when Gracie is too little, slow or soft-spoken ("I'll do it. You're too QUIET.") But it turns out that the very traits that make Greta so impatient are exactly what's needed Christmas Eve when Gracie hears a mysterious "thump" in their living room. The charming whimsy and lovely palette of Yasmeen Ismail's illustrations perfectly balance this slyly funny story that will ring true for every child who has felt a bit squashed by a more forceful sibling or friend.

Walk This World at Christmastime by Zanna Davidson and Mary Sebag-Montefiore, illus. by Debbie Powell (Big Picture/Candlewick, $17.99, hardcover, 9780763689216, 24p., ages 5-8, September 27, 2016)
In this marvelous combination book and Advent calendar, readers are invited to "[p]eek through windows, open doors,/ watch as Christmastime unfolds" all around the world. Each spread, a crisp and vibrant cityscape, showcases myriad international traditions, revealed in captions and images behind flaps. Twenty-five flaps, spread throughout the book, are numbered and can be opened in the days leading up to Christmas. Rhymes and fun facts hint at each tradition's origin: in India, banana trees are decorated for Christmas. White-robed pilgrims in Ethiopia flock to beautiful rock churches. Australians like to eat a meringue cake called pavlova (yum!) after their holiday feast. This engaging book is sure to become a Christmas tradition in its own right.

What I Love About Christmas by Maryann Cocca-Leffler (Sterling, $12.95, board book, 9781454918202, 22p., ages 4-up, October 18, 2016)
There's so much to love about Christmas: making gifts, decorating trees, wishing on a starry night. A cuddly bear family does it all in this joyful, interactive board book. Readers turn a wheel to see the cookies being decorated, pull a tab to watch a star shooting across the sky and lift a flap to view mama bear snuggling her cub inside her jacket. Darling colored pencil, gouache and collage illustrations are Christmas-card worthy, as is the final pop-up message: "With all the things to see and do, what I love BEST about Christmas... is time with you!"

Stowaway in a Sleigh by C. Roger Mader (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99, hardcover, 9780544481749, 32p., ages 4-7, October 11, 2016)
Slipper the cat investigates a mysterious sound one Christmas Eve and discovers something wonderful: Mr. Furry Boots! When that jolly red-suited man heads back to his sleigh, he has no idea he has acquired a stowaway. Back at the North Pole, Slipper investigates the elves' workshop and befriends the reindeer. But seeing a pair of fuzzy slippers reminds her of her own cozy home. How will she get back? Rich and realistic pastel illustrations capture the dark mystery of Christmas Eve.

The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus, illus. by Cale Atkinson (Tundra Books, $16.99, hardcover, 9781770498242, 32p., ages 4-8, October 11, 2016)
Santa is having doubts about the existence of the boy Harold. He still likes "the idea of Harold," but there's a litany of things that make him wonder: He's pretty sure Harold's (white) mom writes his Santa letter. And he thinks his (black) dad lays out the Christmas Eve snack. Meanwhile, Harold has his own suspicions about whether Santa is real. What happens as each skeptic searches for proof of the other's existence makes for a hilarious holiday story that celebrates the magic and intrigue of a childhood Christmas. Readers will laugh out loud when Harold's dad sprays his coffee in surprise at the nearly spherical-Santa's appearance in their house. Droll illustrations with plenty of red and green up the fun factor exponentially. Santastic.

--Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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