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Santa Calls

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,100 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Art Atchinson Aimesworth -- inventor, crime fighter, and allaround whiz kid-journeys north with his sister, Esther, and his pal, Spaulding, by special invitation from Santa himself. But why did Santa call? Now available in a new hardcover edition, this truly Joyce-ian crusade features villains and swashbuckling adventure, concluding with a most spectacular and touching Chr ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 28th 1993 by HarperCollins
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Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents and teachers of older children
Recommended to Relyn by: I love the art of William Joyce
This is one of my favorite Christmas books, so I was pretty bummed when it basically bombed with my students. They just weren't old enough, I guess. I really found myself having to explain quite a lot. Still. I love it. Even if you don't love the story, you'll love the art.

I read this one to my class and they did not love it. I was honestly a bit surprised. They liked it fine, but didn't love it. I think that they were not used to the old-fashioned feel of the story and found it a little h
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully illustrated Christmas story is one of my favorites! An exciting adventure to the North Pole to help out Santa turns into a poignant (but not saccharine) message about the importance of family. The pictures have a sort of 1940's "Vision of the Future!" feel, if that makes sense, and the final pages feature two letters that you open and read to discover the secret behind why Santa called!
Alex Baugh
It's 1908, and orphaned inventor and jack-of-all-trades Art Atchinson lives in Abilene, Texas with his aunt and uncle, and his younger sister Esther, to whom he is pretty mean. Along with his best friend Spaulding, Art is a pretty brave guy, who loves adventure and smashing crime, but who, deep down, feels a sadness and loneliness that never leaves him since the loss of his parents.

Then, a few days before Christmas, a mysterious package arrives that turns out to be an invitation from Santa Claus
Tonja Drecker
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This isn't your cuddly, hot-chocolate-warmth, Santa tale, but rather a fast-paced, high-flying adventure with tons of wondrous Christmas magic around every bend.

Art is a boy in Texas, who is known for his adventurous spirit and talent in about everything. He has only one flaw, he likes to fight with his little sister. When the siblings and Art's best friend discover a mysterious box and find that Santa has called them to the North Pole, an action-filled adventure begins.

The tale begins with Art,
2012 February 02

Santa summons a boy to the North Pole in 1908. Art takes his best friend, Spaulding, and reluctantly his younger sister, Esther, with him. Adventure ensues. As Christmas stories go, I quite prefer this to The Polar Express with CD. One, I prefer the art direction of Joyce over Allsburg, two, I like the characters better, and three, I prefer this plot, which I kindly will not spoil. Fans of the Pals in Peril series will recognize Art as another Jasper Dash.

Another thing I really l
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a darling book that puts one sharply in mind of The Polar Express. We’re not dealing with a disbelieving boy but an intrepid explorer, his best pal and beleaguered little sister who set off on an adventure against a despicable queen. The evil isn’t really all that evil; in fact, the dark elves resemble nothing more than grubby-faced children in sack clothes. Santa’s mysterious mission isn’t revealed until the very end of the book but prescient readers can probably guess.

With beautiful so
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Art Atchinson Aimesworth is a jack of all trades. He is a creative inventor, brave enough for adventures, and excellent at fighting crime. So, when a mysterious box comes his way, he is determined to go where it leads him--to Santa Claus. One little problem. If Art doesn't take his little sister, Esther, with him, she will tattle and end the quest. Art concedes and soon the siblings are flying to the North Pole. To their surprise, everything isn't as cheery as they hoped and Art must use his wit ...more
Jessica Nieman
Santa Calls is about a group of children that receive an invitation from Santa himself to visit him at the North Pole. While the kids are on the trip, they run into a problem where the youngest, Esther, has been kidnapped by the evil elves. I think this book was very interesting. It didn't reveal why these children were selected for this opportunity until the very last page. This added a suspenseful element to the story. I think this book would only be appropriate for older grades, possibly thir ...more
It would seem I've been living under a rock, because I'm pretty sure this book is my introduction to William Joyce, and it seems he's a Really Big Deal. (Cue me immediately checking out everything else of his I can find.) This Christmas story has an old-fashioned adventure sensibility, from the rollicking text (which would made a great grade-school or one-on-one readaloud) right down to the dramatic, cinematic illustrations (reminiscent of N.C. Wyeth, Winsor McCay, and Maxfield Parrish). Include ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Art is a very smart boy living in Texas, who has recently become an orphan. He still has his little sister, Esther, but he doesn't treat her very well. One day a mysterious box arrives from Santa, and tells them to build a flying machine to take them to the North Pole. While there, they have all sorts of adventures, including Esther being kidapped by the dark queen. Art rescues her and realizes how much he loves her.

When they return home, they each have gifts from Santa, except Esther who only
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holiday-books
This adventure story involving Santa, an intrepid pair of siblings, and a villainous Dark Queen was entertaining, as all William Joyce stories tend to be, but I don't know that I would go so far as to compare it to The Polar Express, as so many other reviewers have. The story is a bit campy and fun, and I would certainly be willing to share it with readers in search of a different sort of Christmas story, but the story rings a little too much of a child's Indiana Jones or, as another reviewer me ...more
Mary Anne
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
1908, Art Atchinson Aimesworth lives with his little sister, Esther and his aunt and uncle. Art isn't very nice to his little sister - he is too busy having adventures and inventing things and eating candy.
One night Santa sends a secret flying machine and Art, his best friend Spaulding and Esther go out on the adventure of thier lives - to the North Pole. They run into evil elves and when the elves kidnap Esther, Art realizes she means more to him than he knew. He sets out to save her! Adventur
Neil Coulter
I love William Joyce's books and illustration style. Meet the Robinsons, Dinosaur Bob and the Family Lazardo, and the visual design of the film Robots are some of my favorites. So when I saw Santa Calls on the Christmas shelf at the library, I had to take it. I read it to the kids during Christmas week, and it was . . . pretty good. Not my favorite William Joyce--it just isn't quite strange enough, somehow--but it's a good children's book, with a wonderful and emotional reveal at the end.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book I found in the post holiday sale at one of my favorite book stores in the world, Page One Books in Albuquerque. And I was shopping with two of my favorite people in the world (Paul and Betsy)

This picture book is for all ages, but in particular for those older than the usual picture book audience. In fact I bought it for my 30-something daughter to give to my 30-something son next year at Christmas.

It has a special message about sister/brother relationships.
Lorelie Mansur
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-n-ya
My eight year old son still loves this story even though he rejects almost all other xmas books. A rompingly good detective yarn that ranges from Texas to the North Pole. As Santa points out though, some things are best left mysterious. An equally good story for girls.

Could be better written, but children won't notice.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This will now be a holiday staple in our home. I love this story! Art, his sister, and best friend are called on by Santa to help him at the North Pole. Once they arrive, however, the adventure takes an abrupt turn when Esther (little sister) is kidnapped and Art must save her. So begins a tale of siblings becoming friends. Loved it!
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is my new very favorite holiday book. William Joyce spins a masterful tale of adventure, friendship, bravery and family. My kids adored it and the illustrations are amazing. If you have kids 4-10, they will love it.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite Christmas books. I read it aloud to 3rd and 4th graders today. They gave it a thumbs up, and were pretty engaged in the story.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Sweet country twist for a Christmas book. A creative adventure for a sister and brother with a heart warming tug at the end of the book.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Christmas book with lots of potential for use with the Faith Friends.
Dec 16, 2010 is currently reading it
If your kids are having a hard time getting along this is a great read aloud. A little girl asks Santa for her older brother to be her friend. The Adventure begins when Santa summons Art to the North Pole. When she is captured by the Dark Queen his feelings toward his sister change and he steps up to save her. I had to discuss with my four year old at the end for him to fully get it, but it would be perfect for a 5-7 year old. The Adventure moves quickly, my 2 year old even sat through the whole ...more
I was very pleasantly surprised by this one, it's one of those books that were on display at our library and my son insisted on bringing it home. It's rather a long story, for a picture book, but both me and my boy got totally sucked into it. There's suspense and a mystery to figure out, there are bad guys and some fighting (although not too completely harrowing), lots of enchanting fantasy to revel in, very much put forward by the enjoyable retro illustrations. Probably one of the best recent C ...more
Rosa Cline
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, mine-read, christmas
It first I wasn't real sure about this story and almost put it down and didn't finish it but something about it made me want to keep reading... and I am so glad I did! Being a "little sister' myself I know how the little girl felt in the story. At times this book can kind of be 'weird' and a little 'out there' but hey that is often times a child's imagination too! I won't give away the ending but this is a very creative, very interesting book filled with a very special life lesson in the end! (E ...more
Douglas Cootey
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
The whimsical illustrations in this book are lavish and detailed, harkening back to Little Nemo's Adventures in Slumberland with a touch of N.C. Wyeth. The story is a mystery, revealed cleverly on the last splash page. Even though the plot was slight, and the motivation of the evil queen slighter, the story clipped along at a good pace, and the message of the book was delivered without a heavy hand. Bonus points for the weaponized benefits of licorice.
Tia Hall
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am a HUGE William Joyce fan! This is probably my very favorite of his juvenile books. His art deco styling, tender, yet fierce characters, and incredible illustrations make me swoon. This story is so eloquent, interesting and beautiful, I love it. It has action, adventure, drama, but, most importantly, this book has heart! We own it and read it year round.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Art, Spaulding, and Esther are summoned to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, 1908. Although they are not told why, they have a grand adventure, including battling Dark Elves and an evil queen. Along the way they learn how to get along with your siblings. The vocabulary is amazing, and this book made a fabulous read aloud.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
This one was just okay. Not nearly as gripping as his tale "Man In The Moon". I am not real a fan of the "Santa Claus" legend so this story really didn't hold much interest for me. I thought that it was a little long winded as well. This was really a children's book written for adults so children may get a little restless listening to the story.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: older-kids
The vocabulary in this book is quite advanced--it is better for an elementary school students than a toddler.

Also, without giving away spoilers, this book is better for children with brothers or sisters rather than for an only child. It is a good book to buy if your children are fighting!
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations had a profound affect on my childhood self. It was one of the first visual images I can recall responding to for formal reasons, color, line..That says alot about the quality of the artwork because I was raised without any Santa belief but still responded to this book.
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this, mostly for the extraordinary artwork and elements of a true-life story that made it seem plausible as it was fantastic. I also liked seeing a Native character in a picture book that wasn't about myths or depressing moments in history.
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William Joyce does a lot of stuff—films, apps, Olympic curling—but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Numberlys, The Man in the Moon, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, Toothiana, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also an Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives with his family in Shre ...more
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