Marie Aude-Murail & Elvire Murail
Pages: 32 Ages: 6+
Inside Jacket: Julian is almost too old to believe in Santa Claus. But since his parents talk about Santa constantly, Julian decides to write the big guy in red one more time . . . just in case. This time he asks for a big present—a state-of-the-art video games system. Sure enough, on Christmas morning, there’s a gift, just as fabulous as he had imagined. But then he spots another package—one wrapped in plain brown paper—under the tree. What can it be? His parents have no idea where it came from. It doesn’t look allthat exciting, but when Julian opens the box and discovers what’s inside, the magic begins.
Julian is getting older. He is at the age where he thinks he is too old to believe in Santa, but his parents talk about Santa morning, noon, and night, that is, all the time! Poor Julian. He decided he would pretend to believe in Santa this year for his parents. He writes Santa a letter asking for the awesome video game system his cousin Patrick had. Though mom thought it might be too expensive, Julian explains,
“Santa can afford that sort of thing.”
Christmas morning arrives and Santa could afford the system. There it sat under the tree. Dad tells him to enjoy it, because soon he will be too old for Santa. What a Scrooge!
Unseen under the tree is one more present, wrapped in plain old ugly brown paper that’s not very Christmassy. Mom finally sees it and hands it to Julian. He rips through the plain paper to find a red and blue, wooden steam train. Both parents are surprised.
Mom didn’t buy it. Dad didn’t buy it. Who bought this little red and blue wooden train?
Dad thinks he knows.
“It’s a little kid’s toy. This train can’t be yours. It must have fallen out of Santa’s sack.”
Julian looked at the little train and noticed something odd. It had eyes! And did the train just wink at him? Dad makes up a new rule that lets Julian keep the train only if nobody claims it before one year and one day.
Santa’s Last Present, is marked “gifts,” as in placed in gift shops, but not necessarily bookstores. That is a shame because while it is the length of a short story, Santa’s Last Present is one magical Christmas story that will have children thinking. I am still thinking.
Each character has its own distinctive voice. Dad is grumpy and cynical, but has a soft spot for his son. Mom believes in Christmas and all the magic that goes with it—including Santa Claus. I am guessing all the talk of Santa Julian overheard might have been a never decided discussion about how old Julian must be to stop getting gifts from Santa. I am also guessing Dad thought the time was now but Mom wanted to wait—at least another year.
Julian is a quiet boy, a single child, and seems not to have friends outside of school. His cousin Patrick comes over to play, but Julian’s idea of play and Patrick’s are not the same. Julian decidedly prefers the wooden train to the video game system he HAD TO HAVE from Santa this year. Stranger still, the train prefers Julian.
Santa’s Last Present is not about sharing, or giving, or even Santa Claus . . . okay, he’s represents an unknown to believe in. Santa’s Last Present is about the magic of the season. It is about believing in the unknown.
Here’s the thing, Santa is real. Now you know. Sorry about cracking the mystery, but it is true, Santa is real. And, he is real every day of the year. Do not believe me? Ask Julian.
Authors: Marie Aude-Murail & Elvire Murail Illustrator: Quentin Blake Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Release Date: September 9, 2004 ISBN: 978-1-56145-319-6 Number of Pages: 32 Ages: 6+
Copyright ©2012 by Peachtree Publishing, used with permission.
Text: Copyright ©2012 by Marie Aude-Murail & Elvire Murail
Illustrations: Copyright ©2012 by Quentin Blake, used with permission.