Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Santa Clauses: Short Poems From the North Pole

Raczka, Bob (Author)
Groenink, Chuck (Illustrator)
Lerner 2014. 36 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781467718059 (hardcover)
9781467746212 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 811
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Poetry

Text Elements:

recurring patterns, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Santa apparently has a poetic streak. “Years ago,” a prefatory note made to look like a typed letter tells us, “Mrs. Claus gave him a book of haiku, a Japanese form of poetry.” These brief poems’ three lines, which in English have five, seven and five syllables, respectively, traditionally manage to plumb great philosophical depths, usually couched in imagery. Santa’s 25 haiku—one for each day of December leading up to Christmas—occasionally echo those natural roots. December 15, for instance, reads: “One hundred strings of/outdoor lights can’t compete with/tonight’s aurora,” while December 13 observes, “Mother Nature trims/her trees with icicles, snow,/pinecones, and moonlight.” The poems make use of figurative language and are replete with obligatory festive references, from hot chocolate to reindeer and candy canes. Each poem stands on its own, yet the collection manages to cumulatively sketch a well-developed setting and main character.

The full-page and framed illustrations depict the scenes described in the poems with whimsical realism: Santa and a white fox share a snack as the jolly old elf maps his route; Santa untangles snarled strings of decorative lights; or, furrowing his brow, Santa wonders “Which is packed tighter,/the sack full of toys or the/red suit full of me?” The pencil drawings will spark imaginations—elves are tucked into triple-decker bunk beds, and elsewhere Santa and Comet drag home a just-felled tree—inviting readers to imagine what the North Pole of Christmas legend must be like.

  •  

    Discuss the cover page. What do you think Santa is thinking about? What do you know about poetry? What kind of poems do you know?

  •  

    How do Santa and Mrs. Claus prepare for Christmas? Make a class list of what they do and compare it to how other people get ready for the holidays.

  •  

    Research and discuss haiku. Examine the poems in the book and explore their structure. Create a series of haiku poems that represent events in your family, town or city, as you prepare for Christmas or another winter tradition.

  •  

    Discuss the cover page. What do you think Santa is thinking about? What do you know about poetry? What kind of poems do you know?

  •  

    Do these poems match your idea of poetry? How do they make you feel? Do you connect with their vision of preparing for Christmas? What ideas would you keep, which ones would you add?

  •  

    Research and discuss haiku. Examine the poems in the book and explore their structure. Create a series of haiku poems that represent events in your family, town or city, as you prepare for Christmas or another winter tradition.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information