Title: Santa Dog
Author: G. Z. Sutton
Publisher: Lucky Bat Books
Genre: Children’s, Holiday, Education, Pets
Reviewed By: Kimberlee Hicks , Pacific Book Review
Featured Book of the Month, December 2014
Book ReviewEveryone needs a dog – even Santa! After being abandoned by his family, a golden retriever named Denby is found wandering in the desert by Santa on Christmas Eve. Discovering that Denby cannot remember what has happened to him, Santa takes the dog to his home in the North Pole. Plied with food, comfort, and all the affection his heart desires, Denby believes he has found what he lost and wants most: a family, and the hope of restoring his memory.
Things do not go as expected for Denby. Compelled by an inexplicable curiosity, Denby twice defies Santa’s warnings to stay away from one particular room, called the Rotation Room, which guards a very important secret. Denby’s apparent bad behavior causes Santa to lose trust in him, and the dog is banished from the North Pole.
In order to prove that he is not a bad dog, Denby finds that he must solve the puzzle of his life before Santa found him. With his friends at his side, Denby does what it takes to keep his new family.
‘Santa Dog: The Incredible Adventures of Santa and Denby,’ is a delightfully fun story about the importance of family. This is especially poignant, given that it is set during a season in which it is easy to lose sight of this fact in the face of rampant materialism. It is a story written with such creativity, that the author’s affection for the story’s main character (Denby was created in memory of his childhood pet) is apparent on every page.
Sutton evokes such emotion with the sweetness of Denby’s heartwarming personality that readers cannot help loving him within the first pages. His attention to detail, especially in his depiction of the North Pole, an infusion of witty jokes, a rich elf culture, and even important social issues, bring a roundly developed quality to the story that will inspire children’s imaginations.
Wolfgang Price’s lovely illustrations cannot go without mention. They bring an added level of life to Denby’s tale, and further engage the reader. Denby’s natural likeability is only enhanced by Price’s artwork.
‘Santa Dog: The Incredible Adventures of Santa and Denby’ has the added virtue of being available as a teacher’s edition. Sutton provides inventive, age specific, activities for students in their early years at elementary school to get involved in. These activities are designed to energize minds and spark students into thinking constructively, and would be a fun addition to any teacher’s curriculum.
There is no doubt that children will love this book, and parents – and teachers – will be excited by the opportunity to help their children grow.