Bell, Jennifer (illustrator)
Random House, 2013
My Pen Pal, Santa is the story of one little girl's year-long correspondence with Santa Claus. It begins with little Ava's thank-you letter to Santa for her Christmas gifts, and evolves into a pen-pal friendship with old St. Nick. Ava asks Santa various questions in her letters (including the dreaded "are you real?") and Santa patiently answers them all. In case you're curious, the "are you real" question is answered with the old standard "I'm real to the people who believe in me."
When December rolls around, Ava writes Santa again, and tells him the only present she wants this Christmas is to meet him in person. Her wish is granted, as shown on the final wordless page.
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. I usually like books that are told through writing letters (like The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan book I reviewed awhile back) but there was just something lacking in this one. The letters between Ava and Santa were sort of, well, boring. They needed more humor. There was also no chance for excitement to build up regarding Ava's wish to meet Santa, since we don't even find out her wish until the second-to-last page.
I did like the illustrations in this book. They're very bright and colorful, and the characters' faces look friendly and happy.
One thing this book might be useful for: starting a conversation about good old-fashioned snail mail! Now there's a concept that's (unfortunately) quite foreign to many kids today.
I'm having fun with these book reviews! I think I'll keep them going. Book reviews and Michigan travel...I kind of like it! I guess a blog doesn't always have to focus on one single thing.