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The Picture Book Buzz

A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World - Perfect Picture Book

As the weather chills & and the holidays loom, is it too early to think about Christmas? No way!

Not when you see this beautiful debut picture book, which both delights and educates. M.E. Furman and Susan Gal's collaboration has created a gorgeous story that will yield visual and edible treasures.

A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World

Author: M.E. Furman

Illustrator: Susan Gal

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2017)

Ages: 4-7



Food, Christmas, diversity, and Santa

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

A World of Cookies for Santa takes readers across the globe to see all the treats that await Santa on Christmas Eve. Head to the Philippines, where children leave out puto seko cookies and ginger tea for Santa; jet to Russia for a honey-spice cookie; then set out for Malawi for a sweet potato cookie! When you've returned home, the journey's still not over—M. E. Furman provides recipes for children to bake some of Santa's cookies for themselves. A World of Cookies for Santa is a multicultural celebration that families will return to year after year.

Opening Lines:

All around the world, Christmas is a time of giving. While Santa Claus (also called Papai Noel, Father Christmas, Grandfather Frost, and more) packs his sleigh with gifts for children everywhere, they're preparing their own sweet gifts for him. Follow along on Santa's tasty trip around the globe, county by country and cookie by "cookie."

Why I liked the book:

This is one of those instances where every page captures your attention. The end pages, in particular, are both delightful and educational. The map on the front details Santa's journey across the globe. While the back combines a numbered map with a mixed up collection of cookies; creating a fun, visual cookie matching game.

Following Santa's trip around the globe, M.E. Furman briefly describes the uniqueness of 32 Christmas celebrations around the world, including Santa's name, the location of gift delivery, and especially the treats - or gifts - left by the children. It is very diverse (culturally and physically) and includes traditions unknown to many children (and possibly adults).

Susan Gal's vibrant illustrations prominently feature the children, surrounded by their cookies, traditions, and holiday decorations. These illustrations are as much of a treat as the recipes in the back. So much is packed into these entries, from culture (intricate clothing & fabrics) and the environment, to the interplay of light throughout the book, offering numerous layers for the reader. The story begins with the cover image of five beaming children and a cluster of holiday treats, shows Mr. & Mrs. Claus speckled with snow, and ends in Hawaii with a seashell tree and macadamia cookies.

This is truly an amazing picture book which will be sure to open discussions about the differences in weather (summer in Australia), traditions (leaving presents on/under pillows), and the universality of treats for Santa. Definitely a treasure I will add to my Christmas book collection.


- try any or all of the 9 cookie recipes in the back of the book;

- visit and share your favorite Christmas cookie recipe or find new ones; and

- leave a new or old favorite cookie for Santa this year.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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