Book Review: Santa on the Loose

Author: Bruce Hale
Illustrator: Dave Garbot
Publisher: Harper Collins (September 25, 2012)
Source: Copy for Review
Audience: Ages 7 and older (younger readers may need some assistance with text)
Christmas Story * Seek & Find * Picture Puzzles

Description from GoodReads:
Santa's sleigh is ready to go--except for one thing: The presents are nowhere to be found! Santa needs your help to find out who took the toys! Is the culprit an unhappy elf or a disgruntled reindeer or even--yikes!--a hungry polar bear? With so many possible suspects, Santa's going to have to do some serious detective work to crack this case before Christmas comes!

My thoughts on this book:
"Oh no! Christmas is almost here and Santa's toys have been stolen."  Children are introduced to the possible suspects including Loki the Reindeer, Emo the Elf, Softy the Snowman, Roz the Bear, Arlo the Penguin, and Santa's Helper Kendra.  Each page includes a clue for identifying the robber.  And in typical "seek & find" fashion, the very busy page requires some close inspection to find the referenced item.  At the end, readers discover all of the revealed evidence laid out for their review.  In the end, children can discover if they correctly guessed who was the robber.  There is even a bonus search section.

The combination of Hale's text/clues and Garbot's illustrations provide for a lively and entertaining search that is perfect for the holiday season.  I have to admit I enjoyed this one a little more than the more common search & find books out there.  Maybe because I actually could find the items in a reasonable amount of time.  (Ok, so maybe I just don't have the patience of a 7 year old when solving these and appreciate one that isn't overly congested.)

I know that there will be a number of children who will be excited to pour over the pages looking for clues and discovering the solution.  Definitely a book for those on your Christmas gift buying list who enjoy "seek & find" books. 

For information on Bruce Hale:  website | twitter | facebook

For information on Dave Garbot: website | blog | facebook