Written and Illustrated By: Elise Primavera
This is by far, my favorite Christmas read aloud. This story is set among the hustle and bustle of life as it exists among the skyscrapers and towers of New York City. The Kringle family lives atop the luxurious Bing Cherry Hotel. Of course, they love Christmas. They keep up their Christmas tree all year. Mrs. Kringle even owns the Mistle-Toe-to-Nail Salon on 56th and Fifth.
Sophie and her litter brother have everything, but of course, they are not satisfied. Their great-aunt, Auntie Claus often wondered if Sophie and her little brother had too many presents. No one loved Christmas more than Auntie Claus, who lived in the penthouse of the hotel. Each day Sophie would have tea with Auntie Claus and get the latest advice.
"Always pick a nice full one, darling, with springy needles."
"You must dr-a-a-a-ape the garland, darling, one strand at a time..."
Each tea time would end with Auntie's most important piece of wisdom.
"And darling, always remember my first and final rule-- whether it's birthdays, Christmas, or Halloween, it is far better to give than to receive!"
Auntie Claus is quite prim, proper, and fancy. She is tall, thin, and always made-up. Auntie Claus is also very mysterious as she always has a diamond key that hangs from a sliver ribbon around her neck. Every year she leaves after Halloween and does not return until Valentine's Day. Each time Sophie would question her Auntie about these oddities she would say, with a twinkle in her eye, "That, darling, is something for me to know and you to find out."
This book takes us through the twists and turns of Sophie's adventure in finding out the truth behind her Auntie Claus. Through Sophie's journey we travel to the North Pole, learn about "elf rules and vital information," and discover the secrets behind the "B-B-and-G list" (Bad Boys and Girls). Does Auntie Claus reveal her true self and finally get Sophie to realize the true meaning of giving? Read to find out.
The illustrations by Primavera are marvelous! Each page illuminates with the spirit of holiday lights. Scale is cleverly used to show the high-rise hotel in all its glitz and glamour. Deep blues, holly greens and vibrant reds dazzle each page. Auntie Clause is long-lashed, painted tall, slender and dressed to the nines.
I love reading this book each year the day before the winter break. I enjoy the look on my first grade's faces and the sound of their giggles when I say "darrrrrling" in my raspy voice the way I imagine Auntie Claus to sound. This book was given to me by my Auntie Dee ten years ago this Christmas. Her message on the inside cover adds the perfect personal touch to this story.