#1036 – Candy Cane Lane by Scott Santoro

cover Candy Cane Lane
Written and Illustrated by Scott Santoro
Simon & Schuster BYR    9/20/2016
48 pages   Ages 4—8

“One night, a winter storm blows through Candy Cane Lane. Decorations are thrown about. Lawn ornaments are scattered. And a choirboy is scuffed, scratched, and thrown in the trash. Before a kind little girl can save him, the choirboy is carted off to the dump.

“Now, days before Christmas, he’s lost, scared, alone . . .

“Until he meets up with other discarded decorations. He finds a bunch of misfit merrymakers who want a home for the holidays. The choirboy knows that the little girl will welcome them on her lawn. But they’ll need a little bit of luck, and a lot of Christmas magic, to make it back to Candy Cane Lane.” [INSIDE JACKET]


Candy Cane Lane is a twenty-first century version of Rudolph and the Toys of Misfit Island. Instead of Santa’s cast-offs, Candy Cane Lane’s damaged Christmas lawn ornaments end up in a dump “many hours” away. To get back to Candy Cane Lane, and the young girl who wants him, the choirboy enlists the help of two broken lawn ornaments he befriends (reindeer and a Halloween ghost) in the dump and then several dozen more from a lawn ornament manufacturers assorted rejects.
spread1“They found dozens of ornaments who looked very different. There was a Santa with a green coat, a camel with three humps, wise men without gifts, and a snowman who looked melted.”

With the help of the company’s spokes-giant, all the discarded lawn decorations find the way back to Candy Cane Lane and the little girl who adores them all—to the bewilderment of her father.
Young kids will appreciate the sentiment of the unwanted decorations and the young girl’s unconditional acceptance of the same, much as they do the toys of Misfit Island. What kids will not do is connect with the choirboy or any of the misfit decorations. I expected “a lot of Christmas magic” and found little. The sketched, then digitally colored illustrations add a nostalgic touch, but it is not enough to brighten this holiday story into a magical, well-received piece.

CANDY CANE LANE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Scott Santoro. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.

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Add Candy Cane Lane to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.

Reprinted with permission from CANDY CANE LANE© 2016 by Scott Santoro, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc. Illustrations © 2016 by Scott Santoro.

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The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer
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Seeking a Santa
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Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Candy Cane Lane
Written and Illustrated by Scott Santoro
Simon & Schuster BYR 9/20/2016


10 thoughts on “#1036 – Candy Cane Lane by Scott Santoro

  1. Sounds cute. I love the look of it. Computer generated illustrations? I wouldn’t have known that if you didn’t say it. I probably won’t notice the disconnect either. I’ll take a look at it next time I’m in the bookstore.


    • That’s what I found out when researching the art. I thought maybe it was a mistake and it should have read “digital illustrations,” which are totally different. I just now double-checked and these are sketched out and then digitally colored. Much different than what I wrote and it will be changed. My big error for not trusting my hunches. Thank goodness for readers like you. 🙂


      • I’m the author/illustrator. Yes, the Kirkus review did have me baffled. I used PhotoShop with a Cintiq tablet, which is what pretty much everyone uses in animation nowadays. Nothing in the book is ‘computer generated’, it’s all ‘digital paint’ and 100% of it is hand drawn. It’s just that I no longer use paint or colored pencil. When they ask for changes, it’s just so much easier and there’s no worries that anything will get lost in shipping. Maybe I need to try to make things look a little less slick, I don’t know. The book is 47 pages — about 1/3 longer than the standard 32 pages so it was a tremendous amount of work.


        • Scott, I love your “slick” art. Don’t change a thing. You are one of the few illustrators whose books I jump at when offered for review. Sometimes I even request them. Thank you for stopping by (I adore creatives who do this, so you are now adored). 🙂


    • I’m the author/illustrator. If you have a Books a Million near you, they carry it. Barnes and Noble doesn’t. I have no idea why. All the artwork is drawn. That Kirkus Review baffles me. I use a Cintiq tablet and PhotoShop. I draw/paint on the tablet. I used to use gouache and colored pencils but I always was terrified that the artwork would get lost when shipped to NY or China (where books are often printed). I’m glad you like the look of it. It was a huge amount of work, believe me. It’s extra long — 47 pages instead of the usual 32. — Scott Santoro

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scott, thank you for clearing up the art methods. Often the credit page in a book will give the illustration methods, but Candy Cane Lane did not. After posting the review, as seems always the case, I found a few originals posted for an interview pre-publication. Your work looks like something off of a movie screen. I could not image the nerves it must take to send original prints out of the country (or across country, for that matter).


  2. Ah, seeing the Christmas reviews start to pop up around the web has me wanting to cozy up with some gingerbread and A Christmas Carol. The illustrations of this book look really cool, but sorry to hear that there was some magic missing.


    • So glad you are ready for some holiday books—I have some super terrific books coming up in December.

      As far as the “magic” of this or any other book, it is subjective. If you love the illustrations, you will might just love the story. I have since found out the author based this story on his own youth and a lawn ornament (guess which one) he had on his lawn.


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