The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
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The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,217 ratings  ·  184 reviews
The wonderfully imaginative creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz takes the beloved symbol of a merry Christmas out of his conventional trappings and into a world of enchanting folklore. As a gentle young man, Santa makes his first toy and discovers his destiny for years to come--as a purveyor of happiness for children around the world. Illustrated throughout.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 5th 1984 by Greenwich House (first published 1902)
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Dec 20, 2008 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has kids; and anyone who loves Christmas
This is really a fine children's book. Like any good children's literature, it is equally enjoyable for adults. Placing Santa Claus firmly in the pagan world of fairies, woodland spirits, and other such folktale powers, Baum reminds us that Santa - despite the relation to the Christian St. Nick - is clearly an embodyment of the pagan celebration of joy, light, and life that is and has always been a massive part of Christmas.
The book presents a very likeble Santa Claus and is highly original. Mos...more
A beautiful book. Will definitely make you feel the warmth and love and giving-nature of Santa Claus in your heart this time of year. (Also discovered that the soundtrack to the movie Amelie is the perfect soundtrack to this book.)

If you have particular books that you read every Christmas - A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc. - add this to the list.
Michael Jones
This is a beautiful story, beautifully written. By the end of the first page I realized that this book cannot be read quickly - Baum's pacing is gentle and deliberate, with a "Once upon a time..." fairy-story quality that begs to be savored. Even with that, though, I was able to finish the book in just a few sittings. It was totally worth the time investment! I think even my fantasy story-loving thirteen-year-old might enjoy this book.

This isn't your Rankin-Bass Santa who grows up with the Kring...more
This begins with the discovery of the human baby by nymph Necile, who asks for permission from the Master Woodsman, a ruler of immortals, to keep the mortal child for her own. Named Claus, the boy is raised by all the fairies and magical creatures until the day he realizes that he must go live among other humans. He discovers a talent for toy-making, an empathy for all children, a way to carry his toys across the world and how simple B&E is.

I didn't know Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, had...more
Mark Wilkerson
I wish that my mom knew about this book when I was a wee little boy. This is a completely legitimate "origin-story" for Santa Claus, and all the questions I had about Santa Claus, like "Where did he come from?" or "How does he get into houses without chimneys?" or even "Why did he pick reindeer instead of horses?" are all explained in this story.

This is a fun little story to read to young children right in the lead-up to Christmas; the story is not too harrowing, yet not dull, and there are man...more
Samantha Hopwood
Holy Christ in heaven, if you're thinking "this looks cute. It's that guy who did the Wizard of Oz!" just give up. It's not worth it. I've spent at least ten hours of this fucking Christmas season trying to get through this monstrosity and, oh, the horror. If Bing Crosby in the background isn't enough to get me effing jolly as I read this, I don't know what will. Yes, I know, he wrote this for children. You know who else wrote for children? JK effing Rowling, that's who. So don't tell me I'm jud...more
Renee Bush
Parents need to understand, before they buy or borrow this book, that L. Frank Baum's works are not typical of today's fantasy reading, and this book is no exception. (I speak of those who are surprised that the WIZARD OF OZ books are not very much like the movie.)

Having said that, the illustrations in this book are gorgeous. It is a treat, and a delight, to thumb through the book and only look at the pictures. The story adds to the enjoyment, but to me, the main event here is the artwork.
Fran V
How did I miss this little gem when I was growing up? If you like a Father Christmas-Santa Claus-King Holly that is in the tradition of the ancient myths where fairies and elves trolls and other-world creatures existed with men, then this is a Santa tale for you. Or your children.

This is a Santa that Tolkien might have written, very Hobbitish ot Tom Bombadilish in flavour, but even simpler, and fairly short. It was clearly written for children, but not dumbed down in language or content. For th...more
I've seen the Rankin-Bass special, which is very hard to catch, but never read the book. This was a fun little book, and very imaginative. I always liked the Oz books as a kid, as well, so not surprised I liked this one. Well worth the read. Read it to your kids or have them read it. Find the TV special if you can, too. It's a good on.
Extremely sweet and charmingly original. Who knew Claus was raised by wood nymphs and invented toys? I appreciate the final chapter addressing the issue of newfangled stovepipes in place of chimneys.
Cute story about the life of Santa Claus. It doesn't entirely fit in with the current tradition, but I think it's still a worthwhile read for the imagination, and child in all of us.

Claus is abandoned as a baby and raised by a nymph. As he ages, he takes an interest in humans, specifically poor children. He decides he wants to make the lives of the poor more joyful, and does so by making and giving away toys. Eventually what starts out as a small, local tradition expands into Christmas as we kno...more
It was good to finally read the true account of the life of Santa Claus.

Here is an abiding classic of the richness of humanity, stretching well beyond the parameters of an ordinary Christmas novel. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is a celebration of the sweetness of youth as it flares brightly across our sky for a few brief moments before burning out. It is an all-encompassing love letter to the world's children here today as well as those who have faded into adulthood many years hence, the magic of those days when anything seemed possible but a sweetness of...more
This novella tells the story of Santa Claus, raised by a nymph in the Forest of Burzee, friend to forest creatures, and generous giver of gifts to the poor and downtrodden.

So he loaded a great sack with all kinds of toys, slung it upon his back that he might carry it more easily, and started off on a longer trip than he had yet undertaken.

Borrowing much from pagan lore, the author of the Wizard of Oz series paints a quaint and likable picture of the jolly old man that’s so popular around this t...more
I read this many times as a small child. Then the library moved into a new building, and they must have discarded their copy in the move, because I never saw it again. I remembered many details, but not the author's name, so I didn't realize it was the one by L. Frank Baum until a friend mentioned that book recently.

I read the Project Gutenberg text on my Kindle, and I think the lack of all the beautiful illustrations did away with the nostalgia I might have felt. Instead I was really underwhelm...more
I Read
If I was a child I would probably be giving this a better rating, but I can only score it on how I enjoyed the book, so three stars it is.
At first I found this hard to get my head around as it seemed discordant with my ingrained version of the traditional description of Christmas and Santa Claus, but by the end Baum had won me over. It started out more about nature than anything else and I thought it would also inspire children to look at the natural world with new and appreciating eyes.

The boo...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 24, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jillian Joy
Shelves: christmas, childrens
I wish I had the chance to read this when my daughter was still very young. This explains everything about Santa Claus: from the time he was found in the forest and cared for by nymphs up to the time he was granted the mantle of immortality. It also explains about his ability to create many and varied toys up to why he could go inside the house with or without the chimney. It even explains how he can go and distribute his toys to countries with no snow considering that he rides a reindeer-driven...more
Christine Ditzel
L. Frank Baum may be known best for his 14 Oz books, but I now consider The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus to be my favorite of his works I’ve read thus far.

Baum takes the story of Santa Claus, along with some popular Christmas symbols and traditions, and weaves a tale to explain how they came to be that is completely his own and nothing short of magnificent. All throughout, from the time Santa Claus is revealed to have been orphaned as a baby and raised by Immortals who name him Neclaus unt...more
Jess Michaelangelo
A whimsical children's story perfect for reading aloud this time of year!

I adore all things Christmas. Chances are, if a book has Christmas in the title, on the cover, or in the synopsis, I will read it. And because I'm a huge sap for Christmas, I enjoy just about every Christmas book I read. This was a classic that I had first heard of floating around the internet, and I'm glad I've finally taken this holiday season to read it.

As a kid, some of my favorite Christmas stories were those that "e...more
Allison W.
Dec 19, 2010 Allison W. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone not offended by Santa stories
Recommended to Allison W. by: My Dad
My father used to read this book to me in Decembers when I was a child. At some point after I was married and before we had children, I bought a copy. I recommend this book to lots of folks every year, every chance I get. Over the years I've given it as gifts to adults, children and libraries alike. I love it.

Baum, most known for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books, gives us a secular backstory to the origins of Santa Claus, toys and Christmas traditions that incorporates immortals like Nymphs, Ryl...more
Julia Brumfield
This book has been made into a cartoon movie that I came upon one Christmas season but it was only bits and pieces that I saw. I was caught by the movie but unfortunately I couldn't get the channel to tell me what the show was nor could I figure it out so it disappeared back into the darkness of oblivion for me even though I kept thinking about it.

A few years ago my sister found out that it was actually a book and the author while she chose to gift this book for me for my birthday instead of t...more
The author of THE WIZARD OF OZ deserves consideration and respect for the delightful fantasies he has provided the world. This syrupy recreation of Santa's youth, manhood and ultimate immortality is quainting charming--especially to the young-at-heart. However, there are several serious issues mentioned: if we are to die, why are we born at all? No outright religion is preached, but this is a Baum's philosophy: "Everything perishes except the world itself and its keepers..but while life lasts, e...more
Bev Hankins
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank L. Baum (most widely known for his Oz books) gives us the story of Santa Claus from his earliest days with the fairies and nymphs of the forest through his transformation into the yearly Christmas Eve visitor who brings toys for the children. It tells how the human baby was discovered by Ak, the Master Woodsman, and given his protection and then he was adopted by Necile, the nymph. The boy was named Claus ("little one") and grew up enjoying the pro...more
In review I see many people are talking about different versions so let me clarify that our copy is a read aloud size hardcover picture book with mystical and imaginative illustrations. This was a bit long for a bedtime story in one sitting but my three year old daughter did pretty well with it. She moved around a bit but came back and snuggled more throughout the end even on the pages that were text only.

My version was a combination of things. On most page spreads one held a full page illustra...more
I had no idea this book existed until quite recently when Alan reviewed it. It being the Christmas season, I looked it up on Project Gutenberg ( and read it for myself.

This book is quite like the Oz books that L. Frank Baum is better known for. The same whimsical nature of those books is conveyed, and the world is rife with folklore and certain bits of magic.

Reading this story, I could imagine it being told to children and trying to answer their questions... hence a lot of myth...more
cute little story about santa and how he came to be, i had actually never seen the raken bass movie adaptation of this until just this week, i was randomly searching youtube to see if i could find a video where someone mentioned reading this book and came across the cartoon instead, it's weird that i had never seen it bc it seems to be pretty popular, i think they show it on abc family a lot, anyways i read the free version from amazon on my kindle, i think i could get much more out of this stor...more
Jon Cox
I remember with wonder this story from my childhood. I remember being pleased and excited especially by the way everything worked out well for Claus, even being able to use the toys stollen by the Awgwas. Ah for the innocence of youth.

Now, I realize, that Baum worked hard at his appologist text. He had to include and explain all the major aspects of the myth of Santa Clause into his story. I think that for my adult self, the magic overwhelms the humanity of the man. I would prefer a story of a m...more
Dec 30, 2011 Allison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy fantasy, those who loved the movie
Recommended to Allison by: the movie
The Christmas claymation-type movie of the 80's, The Adventures of Santa Claus was and is my all-time favorite Christmas movie (and children's movie, in general). The Snowman, of course, is a close 2nd. I didn't realize that L. Frank Baum (ala The Wizard of Oz) wrote this! But I'm not surprised. The movie follows the book almost to the "T" which was fun for me. It is quite fantastical and mundane at the same time, and it's just very sweet. The Great Ak is not too unlike Gandalf, so, I'm not surp...more
If you are unfamiliar with the author name, you will be delighted to know it is the author of The Wizard of Oz. Baum provides a story of Santa Claus that will answer any question you or your child will have about how Santa and his Christmas traditions came to be.

Claus adventures include helping a lost child and giving him the first known toy. Claus soon makes a model of the fairy that raised him, which later became known as a doll. As you read the adventures you will come to an understanding of...more
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Lyman Frank Baum was an American author, actor, and independent filmmaker best known as the creator, along with illustrator W. W. Denslow, of one of the most popular books in American children's literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, better known today as simply The Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a plethora of other works (55 novels in total, 82 short stor...more
More about L. Frank Baum...
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1) Ozma of Oz (Oz, #3) The Marvelous Land of Oz (Oz, #2) The Road to Oz (Oz, #5) Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (Oz, #4)

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“. . .It is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the power of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil. . .” 19 likes
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