The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold

illus. by Cale Atkinson. 32p. Tundra. Oct. 2016. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781770498242.
PreS-Gr 2—Santa seems mopey lately. When pressed by Mrs. Claus, he tells her that he no longer believes in Harold (though he still likes the idea of Harold). He hasn't stopped believing in all children—just Harold. Meanwhile, Harold is having his own doubts about the jolly old elf. He conceals himself behind an armchair on Christmas Eve, hopeful that Santa will prove himself. When Santa arrives, he hides behind the sofa to await Harold's morning dash to the gifts (though he forgets to put them under the tree first). In the morning, Harold's interracial parents spy him, asleep in his hiding spot. When they coax him out with some gentle teasing, Santa suddenly appears, shouting, "YOU'RE REAL!" and eliciting a hilarious coffee spit take from Dad. Harold is just as excited to see that Santa is real, and runs to hug him. They hang out together, reading comics and playing games, until the reindeer stomp on the roof to remind Santa they are waiting for him. Throughout, readers will enjoy keeping track of Santa's cat and Harold's turtle, who are charmingly foreshadowed playing Scrabble on the opening endpapers.
VERDICT A fun story and a great antidote to holiday skepticism.

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