11 November 2010
45 Days Until Christmas
The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus, Tim Stover
Our narrator is in the woods gathering pine boughs for Christmas when his car becomes stuck in the snow. There he comes into possession of a green book which purports to be the true history of the man we know as Santa Claus. This little book about the origin of Santa Claus is no relation to Jeff Guinn's Christmas trilogy also known as "The Christmas Chronicles" (I find the choice of title actually a bit bland and wish Stover or his publisher had found something more unique). Klaus is an orphan raised by carpenters who becomes the ultimate woodcarver, and who falls in love with Anna, who loves to race in a sleigh pulled by the reindeer Dasher. As the tale proceeds, all aspects of the legend are pulled into the story, a bit like Rankin-Bass' Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, but written for an older audience. And that's the rub. Had I not been brought up on this Christmas special, or read various other tales of the Santa Claus myth, including L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, the aforementioned Guinn books, and Britney Ryan's wonderful Legend of Holly Claus, this might have seemed fresh and unique to me. Although it sets up some original ideas, like the hidden road that Santa follows, the total seemed a rather tame effort to make some magic from aspects of the Santa legend, like why "Mrs. Claus" doesn't travel on Christmas Eve. Even Rudolph, here known as "Ranulf," is dragged into the story. If you have not read any other takes on the Santa Claus story, this one may please you, but I found it lacking given its predecessors.