Santa Claus the World's Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee

Santa Claus the World's Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee
Review Copy from Houghton Mifflin
I have mentioned this book in the past and have long been a fan of the detailed, sweetly humorous, cozy illustrations (and stories, she is a great author as well) of Marla Frazee. Author/illustrator of many of my favorite picture books (scroll to the end of this review to see a few of them) Santa Claus The World's Number One Toy Expert, originally published in 2005 and newly available as a board book, is one of my all-time favorite Christmas books, in part because of Frazee dresses off-duty Santa in a t-shirt, suspenders, red Converse high-tops and oversized printed shorts, the pattern of which changes with every page!

Frazee captures everything that is magical and marvelous about the holiday - from a child's perspective - THE TOYS. Despite the title, Frazee begins her book telling readers that Santa Claus is the number one KID expert, and this book shows why. Santa works long hours, all year round (but he loves his job, a refrain that is repeated again), researching kids and toys to be sure he makes the right matches come Christmas day.

Santa finds the best toys in the world and makes sure they are the best by testing each and every one, making sure they are fun to play with than well built - or not. Her even has his own way of, "making the cozy toys become extra special," as you can see in the illustration below. One thing I especially love about Frazee's book are the low-tech gifts Santa gives, including wooden blocks, a cloth doll, a book and a box of packing peanuts that the recipient is joyfully playing in.

It is Santa's sole mission and joy to give the, "exact right toy to the exact right kid, 99.9% of the time." Frazee's illustrations follow children over the course of the story to Christmas morning, showing the one child who doesn't quite like his gift - a box of balls. Beautifully (and after Santa gets a gift of his own), the back cover of the book shows this child with a smile on his face, juggling his balls! From start to finish, story and pictures, Frazee captures the magic of Christmas from a child's perspective and the spirit of Christmas with the thoughtfulness of her Santa Claus.

 A few of my favorite books illustrated 
(and one written by!) Marla Frazee!

This board book is a MUST for all new families!
Written by the Mary Ann Hoberman, a master rhymer, this is a stellar story about a big family of picky eaters.

Written by the marvelous Mem Fox, this book perfectly captures the challenges of parenthood!

A lovely story about a bad day...

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