The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold, written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated Cale Atkinson, is a delightful addition to Christmas picture book collections. This book, which will be released on October 11th, sort of flips the script on the whole belief-in-Santa issue.
In this story, Santa has doubts about the existence of a boy named Harold. Santa is distraught that Harold’s letter was probably written by his parents (who likely want all those gifts for themselves), and he’s sure that a little boy couldn’t possibly lift the big container of milk left out for Santa. On top of that, Harold just didn’t look the same when he sat on Santa’s lap last year. It all adds up, but what Santa really needs is proof one way or the other.
As for Harold, he has his own doubts about Santa. He hatches a plan to catch Santa in the act of delivering presents. What Harold doesn’t know is that Santa has his own plan to see if Harold is real. What happens next is both hilarious and heart-warming, and it will restore both Harold’s and Santa’s Christmas spirit once more.
The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold is a great book for Christmas storytimes, no matter the age of the reader. Young readers who believe in Santa will appreciate seeing Santa’s side of things. Older readers will enjoy the humor present throughout the book, and this charming story may just inspire them to once again experience that childlike belief in Santa and the magic of Christmas.
Aside from the story itself, I think it’s also awesome to see depictions of biracial families in children’s fiction. It’s not a big deal in this book–and it shouldn’t be–but the mere presence of this family in the story makes it a necessary addition to many school and public library collections.