Thursday, December 27, 2007

Santa’s Biography

Every child knows about Santa Claus, the jolly man who brings gifts to all on Christmas Eve. There are many stories that tell of his life, but the delightful version related in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is by far the mist charming and original. Only L. Frank Baum, the man who created the wonderful land of Oz, could have told Santa's tale in such rich imaginative detail.

Deep in the Forest of Burzee, a wood-nymph discovers an abandoned baby and raises him as her child. Young Claus is taught by the wise mythological creatures of the Forest, who love him as one of their own. Though he lives among magical creatures, he comes to cherish his fellow humans, especially the children. When Santa Claus whittles his first toy, he knows he has found the way to bring happiness and love to children all over the world.

Title: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
Author: L. Frank Baum
Illustrator: Mary Cowles Clark
Published: 1902
Publisher: Bowen Merrill
Pages: 192
Genre:
Fiction-Fantasy

There are tons of books about Christmas but I have to admit my favorites are the ones where the life story of Santa Claus is told. So I was incredibly excited when I learned that the wonderful author of The Wizard of Oz stories, L. Frank Baum had written one! The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was a great story and I just loved how very different and imaginative this version of Santa’s biography was with the mythological and almost pagan creatures from old tales. This was even made into one of Rankin/Bass’ Christmas specials although it doesn’t show as often as the other more famous Christmas films by them.

The only thing I didn’t really care for in the entire book was the fact that Santa’s reindeer had ridiculous names like Flossie! Since the book was published in 1902 though it is understandable. I’m pretty sure the traditional names of Santa’s reindeer came much later. Mary Cowles Clark’s simple, yet beautiful illustrations on almost every page does make up for it though.

Very seldom will you find books nowadays that were written with children in mind but yet at the same time something and adult can enjoy as well but Mr. Baum does it beautifully. Be warned though: he refuses to sugarcoat the bad things like the major battle with the Awgwas and the other nasty mythological creatures that wanted to harm Claus so this book may not be appropriate for small children.

This book has entered the public domain so you can read the entire book online now. If you would like more information of this story Wikipedia has an article on it and this page has more illustrations from the book. Also here is a short clip of the Rankin/ Bass adaptation of the same name.

7 comments:

  1. Oh, this does sound interesting. Thanks for the link, Jen!

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  2. Ohhh, literary feline is right.. this does sound good.. I'll be checking it out for sure! Thanks for the review!

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  3. What wonderful illustrations, especially that cover. I was not aware of this book, but will seek out. Thanks for the links, Lady T.

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  4. Nice, Jen. I've been eye-balling this book for years. I'm trying to read through the entire Oz series as I love those books and I've always wondered if this was any good. I'll have to check it out.

    Thanks!

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  5. Oh my gosh, I've got to read that. Thanks for the review.

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  6. This sounds so very fun! I've of course read The Wizard of Oz books (Some of them) but this is just great for Christmas. I'm going to go look at it now. I love public domain works!

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