Monday, February 17, 2014

A Visit from Santa Clops or The Fright Before Christmas

A Visit from Santa Clops or The Fright Before Christmas
Gig Wailgum, author and illustrator
Wailgum Art Yarns
Charleston, North Carolina
ISBN: 978-0-9850780-3-4
$ 9.99
36 pages

 "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the home," is the beginning of this slightly unconventional Christmas tale.  What could possibly rhyme with home that could set the foundation of this traditional poem?
Did you ever think about the rest of the family who had Saint Nicholas.  Just like everyone else, he came from a family complete with uncles, aunts, and cousins.   Being that the entire family was needed for his success, Saint Nicholas is for the "good little girls and boys". 
What about those who were naughty?
Saint Nicholas has a cousin, Santa Clops whose duty it is to deliver the lumps of coal to those naughty children.   Clops is slightly different from his cousin most notably by the one eye in the middle of his face.  He resides at the South Pole  Instead of reindeer, Santa Clops uses flying penguins.
 A Visit from Santa Clops is based on the traditional poem with a dark side complete with illustrations perfectly matching the story on a background on a nauseating green. Where Santa Claus' suit is clean and shiny, Santa Clop's suit is similar but covered in soot from the coal.
This story is best for those who appreciate the parody of an alternative story  The visual pictures are not scary but perfectly match the story in rhyme. 
Gig Wailgum is an artist from Connecticut.  His character of Santa Clops has been featured in the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker magazine, as well as the cover of Seattle is Stranger newspaper.
A Visit from Santa Clops is a fun but perfect reflection with a different perspective on the timeless poem.  With the naughty children's father saving the day, the older children of all ages would delight in reading.   The vocabulary and references to a "fro" and "Ed Allan Poe" definitely places this story as appropriate for older children, this is probably not the best choice for pre-school children.
A Visit from Santa Clops is a fresh approach to an old tradition.

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