Mrs. Claus Takes A Vacation
By Linas Alsenas
(Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 9780439779784, 32pp.)
Publication Date: October 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Mrs. Claus needs to get out of the house. The endless snow at the North Pole is getting her down. And she doesn't see why her husband should get all the travel time in the family. So she hitches up the reindeer and takes a world tour -- leaving Santa to take care of himself (and the remaining reindeer) for the first time in a long time. Mrs. Claus loves traveling the globe... but she also misses Santa as much as Santa misses her. Will she be home in time for Christmas? We'll give you one guess...
Linas Alsenas, 2001 Harvard University graduate in History of Art and Architecture, grew up with his two older siblings and two parents. Author of Peanut (2007) and Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation (2006), Linas plans to continue writing and illustrating books for children and young adults. He currently lives in Sweden with his partner and their pet parrot named Oliver.
Tired of "snow, snow, and more snow!" a cranky Mrs. Claus packs her bags and her passport to see a bit more of the world in this playful peek at the North Pole's First Couple. Santa's hangdog expression contrasts with his wife's snazzy smile as newcomer Alsenas depicts their separate pursuits (e.g., first-time gingerbread baking for him, reading romance novels on the beach for her) in a series of humorous, well-chosen scenes, if unevenly executed. Christmas Eve finds the dynamic duo reunited, with Santa planning for that annual globe-trotting sleigh ride-for two. Ages 3-5.(Oct.)
Tired of being stuck at home all the time, Mrs. Claus sets off in the sleigh on a solo trip around the world. She enjoys the change of scene and has "no trouble making friends," but by the time she visits the Taj Mahal, Mrs. Claus misses Santa. Her homesickness worsens as she starts seeing signs of Christmas everywhere, and she knows it's time to head back. Meanwhile, Santa keeps himself busy, baking his first batch of cookies and decorating the house for the holidays, but he's very happy to see his wife again. Alsenas's wry, folksy illustrations alternate between cozily framed images of the domesticated Santa and full-bleed, double-page spreads of Mrs. Claus following her bliss (on the beach and at a sushi bar, for example). The story's home-is-where-the-heart-is sentiment will resonate with frequent fliers and armchair travelers alike. K.F.
In his debut, Alsenas offers a modern Mrs. Claus and an expressive Santa with a range of
emotions that extends beyond jolly. As the story opens, Mrs. Claus is pale and overworked for good reasonshe's never taken a vacation in her life,” poor woman! When she decides that it's now her turn to enjoy some world travels, she leaves Santa at home with the cat and takes off with the sleigh and a single reindeer. Subsequent spreads alternate between her travel adventures (sunbathing at a beach resort, folk dancing in Scandinavia, eating sushi in Japan) and Santa's lonely preparations for Christmas back home at the North Pole. (The elves are apparently too busy in the toy factory to help.)
Just before the holiday, Mrs. Claus flies home to a warm welcome from her newly appreciative husband, who invites her to accompany him on his Christmas Eve journey. This quietly told story offers some insights into the value of traveling to new places, how it feels to be the one left behind and the meaning of shared experiences.