Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town



Book: Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

Author: Haven Gillespie

Illustrator: Steven Kellogg

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0688149383

ISBN-10: 0688149383

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 4 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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Gillespie, HavenSanta Claus Is Comin’ to Town (published in 2004 by HarperCollins).  “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” began life as a Christmas song written in 1934 by Haven Gillespie and John Frederick Coots that was first sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in November 1934. It became an instant hit with orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music and more than 30,000 records sold within 24 hours.  James “Haven” Lamont Gillespie (February 6, 1888 – March 14, 1975) was an American Tin Pan Alley lyricist.  J. Fred Coots (May 2, 1897 – April 8, 1985) was an American musician who composed over 700 popular songs and over a dozen Broadway shows. The story was made into a 1970 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions starring Fred Astaire as the narrator and Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle/Santa Claus

In this Steven Kellogg illustrated version of the story, Santa comes to town with great panache, along with “elephants, boats, and kiddie cars, too!”  Beginning with a rarely heard introduction, the book tells how a little bear returns from visiting Santa at the North Pole and, talking about being “naughty and nice,” uses the familiar words of the well-known Christmas standard to warn children that they need to behave themselves.  Do the youngsters cease their meanness in favor of more positive activities?  Will there be any presents under the tree?  Kellogg’s artwork is festive and comical.  Each page is filled with interesting, colorful details of the elves preparing for the big day.  Children will love this joyful holiday classic.

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