Every child knows about Santa Claus, the jolly man who brings gifts to all on Christmas. There are many stories that tell of his life, but the delightful version relayed in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is by far the most charming and original of all. Only L. Frank Baum, the man who created the wonderful land of Oz, could have told Santa's tale in such rich and imaginative detail.
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 stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts, and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen.
Holy crap on a Christmas Cookie! I wanted to do Christmas in July. So I'm going to read 4 of these books that are short and have beautiful covers. I will add my little Christmas thing another time as I'm not getting on the computer as much as I told you all 🎅
Oh My Goodness! What a sweet little book! I loved that Santa was adopted by immortals and the story of how he became Santa. I like this story best as his origin story. The fantastical imagery in the mind of all the creatures. Such joy 😊
Now, I wonder if I could talk Santa into bringing me books and movies and shows (oh my) for my Christmas in July 😄 I know, I'm a nerd! Lol, I rhymed that one part and just realized it 😂 God, I'm old but act like I'm 12 and feel 115, but it's a good right?
This was a delightful tale of the origins of Santa Claus in a world full of magical, immortal creatures. This was not your traditional Santa at the North Pole story, nor did I expect it to be, coming from such an imaginative writer as L. Frank Baum. This story had the wondrous feel of a fairy tale, with Santa being raised by a wood nymph and protected by the Master Woodsman of the World. Baum illuminates the beauty of nature in his descriptions of Santa's surroundings, and reaffirms Santa's love for children and humanity.
I shared this book with my ten year old daughter as a read-aloud this Christmas season, and what really drew us in were the beautiful illustrations. They were truly enchanting and, at times, whimsical. We often peeked ahead to see what pictures were next to be revealed!
I recommend this book to children and any young-at-heart who enjoys an original story and lovely illustrations!
We will not Banish Magic from the World, not while Jolly Old Saint Nicholas keeps the Spirit of Christmas Alive in our Hearts!
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902) by L. Frank Baum is the classic biography of the legendary man in the red suit ~ Santa Claus.
Child of the Forest
As with most biographies, I enjoyed the chapters on his childhood the best. Santa’s story begins in an enchanted forest inhabited by fairies, knooks, ryls, and nymphs ~ immortal and changeless beings who have peopled the forest since the beginning. As a foundling, Santa was nursed by a lioness and then adopted by a wood-nymph. His defining traits of kindness, goodness, and generosity can be traced back to his idyllic childhood among the nymphs in the Forest of Burzee.
“His thoughts and words were sweet and gentle, for the nymphs knew no evil and their hearts were pure and loving” (16-17).
Santa’s formative years with the immortal beings also left him with a life-long love and respect for all of nature’s creatures. Is it any wonder that living in the forest with the nymphs, Santa would grow up to be a young man who would not kill a tree or crush a flower or even tear up a single blade of grass?
When Santa moved from the Forest of Burzee to the Laughing Valley, he lived in harmony with the valley’s other inhabitants ~ the wildflowers and the grass, the cowslips, daffodils, and dandelions, the butterflies and the bees, and the beautiful sacred trees.
“His life among the nymphs who guarded the Forest had taught him that a live tree is sacred, being a created thing endowed with feeling” (38).
Because he would do no violence by plowing the earth, he ate the food the ryls brought him ~ milk, bread, honey, apples and grapes (43).
Santa also knew the language of animals.
“He could sing the songs of the bees, recite the poetry of the wood-flowers and relate the history of every blinking owl in Burzee” (21).
Is it any surprise that when he made toy animals, he used only fur from animals who died naturally?
“Many animals perished in the Forest, from one cause or another, and their fur was brought to Claus that he might cover with it the small images of beasts he made for playthings” (123).
The same is true of the leather used for the reindeers’ harnesses.
“This leather was cut from the skins of lions that had reached such an advanced age that they died naturally...” (122-123).
I love Baum’s beautiful description of the enchanted forest and the fairy folk who dwell within it. I love the sweet image of Santa in his flower-filled valley “exchanging jokes with the light-hearted butterflies” (41). But most of all I love that Santa Claus is a tree-hugging eco-friendly vegetarian!
Friend of Children
When Santa grew to manhood he left the primeval paradise of the Forest of Burzee for the pastoral beauty of the Laughing Valley. He had learned about the “doom of mankind” (27) and he courageously chose to share it.
As a young man, Santa posed philosophical questions about the meaning of life and about social justice. When Ak, the Master Woodsman, showed him the world outside, he saw other human beings for the first time. He saw suffering and he felt compassion, especially for the children. When Ak explained that man was doomed to toil, grow old, and die, Santa asked what everyone asks in the face of human suffering ~ Why be born? When Ak tells him “to be helpful to the world” (27), Santa sets out to bring joy to world.
We tend to think of Santa primarily as a toymaker and indeed this book includes several chapters on the innovation and development of his toys, but toy making is just the outward sign of Santa’s mission. Imagine Santa’s reaction upon seeing other human beings for the first time, seeing their hard lives, their suffering, their children’s suffering, and then comparing it to his own idyllic childhood. Toy making is just Santa’s way of spreading cheer among the most disenfranchised members of human society.
It’s easy to forget that children didn’t always have the legal protections they have now. In Santa’s early days, children had no rights at all. They were exploited for child labor and subjected to child abuse. It was only in 1875 that the world’s first organization for child protection was founded ~ the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Before then, children had no official protection. But they had Santa. He befriended them, played with them, listened to them, comforted them. He was always merry, always optimistic. He always had time for them. And the more attention Santa lavished on the children, the more the adults came to realize that their children deserved to be treated better. So the lives of children were considerably improved because of Santa’s esteem and devotion.
Once Santa wondered whether he should deliver toys to rich children as well as poor ones. Rich children had wondrous luxuries, he thought, but poor children had nothing to amuse them. He consulted with his foster-mother, the wood-nymph Necile, and with the Fairy Queen, and those wise beings counseled him to give to all children, rich and poor alike. And that is what Santa does, for he knows that rich children are not necessarily happier than poor children.
“It is possible for any man, by good deeds, to enshrine himself as a Saint in the hearts of the people” (108).
Could anyone doubt that Santa would come to be considered a saint of the people? He devoted his whole life to doing good. He loved children and animals and flowers and trees. In his brotherhood with all of nature’s creatures, he resembles Saint Francis of Assisi. In his love of children, he calls to mind Jesus blessing the little ones ~“Let the children come to me” (Matthew 19:14).
So sacred is this work of befriending children that the Mantle of Immortality was bestowed upon him. The mantle was thought to be created in the beginning. If one believes this, and I see no reason not to, it means that the “Supreme Master” knew it would be needed some day (142), knew the world would need Santa Claus.
Baum’s book paints a deeper portrait of Santa than just the merry toy maker. Santa has always inhabited two worlds ~ the World of Fairy and the World of Man. A good symbol of this is his home in the Laughing Valley ~ a liminal place between the two worlds. Here he receives help from the fairies of the enchanted forest. Yet here also is the place he performs his labor of love for mankind. He is of both worlds, yet he is also of neither. Although he was nursed by a lioness and raised by a wood nymph, he is neither a forest creature nor a fairy. Although he is a man, he grew up knowing nothing of mankind. Never in the history of the world has there been another such as he. And there never will be. The immortal Santa Claus is in a class by himself.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus also sparkles with Baum’s beautiful writing. Here is a lovely example:
“The air was sharp and frosty and the starlight touched the snowflakes and made them glitter like countless diamonds” (116).
The fairy-like prose is complemented by some of Mary Cowles Clark’s charming illustrations. Each of the three sections begins with a full-page black & white illustration of Santa ~ first as a child, then as a young man, and finally as an old man. And each chapter includes marginal illustrations as well. There are nature scenes, woodland creatures, whimsical fairy folk with pointed shoes and wings and antennae, happy children, Christmas trees, and all manner of toys and dolls.
My edition of this book is the 2015 Penguin Christmas Classic in red hardcover with a pretty book jacket and end papers.
in his wonderful Oz series, Baum usually does a good job at keeping his more precious & cutesy-poo tendencies in check. his bracingly no-nonsense little heroines and often delightfully bizarre imagination help to keep things treacle-free. unfortunately no such barriers have been put in place for this story of the early life of Santa Claus; the result is much strained mawkishness and, egads, baby talk. sugar overload! however I did enjoy the entirely pagan origins of Jolly Saint Nick - a foundling taken under the protection of assorted sprites, nymphs, and fairies of an ancient forest. Baum is at his best here when naming and describing all of the varied immortal princes and princesses, and the inhumans they rule over. plus there is a (very brief) Battle Between the Forces of Good and Evil, and that's always fun.
L. Frank Baum's take on Santa Claus is totally different from the typical stories I grew up knowing about Santa Claus. Interesting story set in a completely different environment than the North Pole. Staged in the forest with interesting characters who all have their own magical/mystical powers.
While I did enjoy the book, I felt that L. Frank Baum needed to touch on all aspects of Santa Claus's life and everything related to Christmas in general. The chapters on "Youth" were very enjoyable and my favorite part of the book but when I got to the chapters on "Manhood" and "Old Age", that's when it seemed the author lost me a little because he wanted to include every nuance he knew of Santa Claus and Christmas and it seemed somewhat silly. Case in point: how the reindeer, who pull Santa's sleigh, came to be, the stockings that were hung, how Christmas trees came to be, how we came to celebrate Christmas Eve and last but certainly not least, how Santa Claus becomes immortal.
ME HA ENCANTADO. No sé por qué esta historia de Baum es tan poco conocida cuando sin duda llega al nivel del mundo de Oz. En este libro el autor nos cuenta su versión de cómo nació Santa Claus y como se fue convirtiendo en la figura que hoy conocemos y que se pasa la noche de Nochebuena repartiendo regalos a todos los niños del mundo. Sin duda a mí me ha apasionado y me ha parecido una lectura ideal para estas fechas navideñas. El autor escribe de maravilla y la traducción de la edición que yo he leído es maravillosa (he leído una edición de SINGULAR que no estaba añadida en Goodreads). Si os apetece un lectura peculiar y navideña, este es vuestro libro.
I really enjoyed this book as it took me back to my childhood with memories of how I truly believed. This is a different but very imaginative and old-fashioned story about the origins of Santa Claus. It was an uplifting, quick read, and it answered all the unrelenting questions my 7-year-old has been asking me this holiday season. Next time I will read the illustrated version to my kids.
Two years after the author's most famous work, Frank L. Baum published this chronicle of Santa Claus (actually named Nickclaus).
We readers thus learn of his childhood in a magic forest where he was raised by nymphs and other immortal folk, before we follow him as an adult man until he becomes the immortal symbol of joy that we all know nowadays. In between, there are encounters with sprites such as Jack Frost and the making of the first toy and all of it was wonderful!
One can see, while reading this tale, that the author had a great way of thinking up and bringing to life magical realms inhabitated by fascinating creatures. The writing was also flowing nicely and engaging while the chapters were kept short, probably so the book can be read to little ones more easily. And while the tale was kept light (also due to the age group this was intended for), it still adressed deeper issues as well, such as the conflict between rich and poor. Moreover, the author had a great way of not only recounting Nickclaus' journey of self-discovery but also conveying his innocent nature, which is at the center of his personality after all.
An old tale but a really nice one that takes you from a magical forest into a colourful workshop.
In this Classic Book, L. Frank Baum has fun explaining the backstory of Santa Claus to generations of children
I loved how Baum expands on traditional Santa stories. In particular, Mr. Claus is adopted by the wood nymphs and has a deep love for the forest and it's creatures. Later, he shows how Claus' toys were his main focus so as to bring happiness to children.
Nothing seems to be missed, his first name's origin, his sleigh and reindeer, the first stockings, and the first Christmas tree, just to name a few.
Throughout my reading of this book, I was filled with joy happiness and lots of childhood smiles. I even had memories of how my family would put the tree up on Christmas Eve because it fit in with the tale of Santa Claus.
This is a story full of pure delight and one that I wish I had known it was around when my children were little. It would have been a tremendous read to them the last few days before Christmas. I highly recommend this book to children of all ages.
I finished and enjoyed this story quite a bit. It's sweet and a wonderful story to read to kids in December. It's warm, touching, brings the love & joy of Santa into the mind. It's told as a history, that each child would be able to envision being true. True, a few details are changed but, in essence, this is the story of Santa Claus and one to delight young (and old) hearts.
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.
2020ը բոլոր առումներով ահավոր բարդ տարի էր, որը չխանգարեց ընթերցանությանն ու ինքնակրթվելուն։
Էս տարի կարծում եմ բոլորս էլ կարդացել ենք լավ ու վատ գրքեր, որոնք հաստատ կարանք առանձնացնենք մնացածներից։
Լավագույններից, որ այս տարվա ընթացքում կարդացի ու որը դարձավ ամենասիրելին՝ Զյուսքինդի <<Օծանելիքն>> ա։ Ինչպես նաև Փամուքի <<Կարմրահեր Կինը>>, Միլերի <<Խեցգետնի Արևադարձը>> ու Մարտինի <<Գահերի Խաղը>> (որի հայերեն թարգմանությունը պռոստը վախենալու էր)
սրանք ամենատպավորիչներն էին...
Պաչյանի, Սարիբեկյանի, Խանջյանի ու Գրիգի մասին բան չեմ ասում 🤭
Ժամանակ տրամադրեցի նաև ռուս դասականներին, որոնցից մենննակ <<Ոճիր և Պատիժը>> շա՜տ-շա՜տ հավանեցի։
մի քանի բան կարդացի նաեւ Հեսսեից, Հյուգոյից, Շեքսպիրից ու Կաֆկայից։
կսպասեմ ձեր մեկնաբանություններին ;)
2021ը ցանկանում եմ, որ լինի գրքա-ֆիլմաշատ տարի ու ամենակարևորը էդ ամենն ուղեկցվի ԽԱՂԱՂՈՒԹՅԱՄԲ
Baum wrote this Fairy Tale two years after Oz, 1902.
A beautiful tale of Claus and how he grew up in the forest of Oz to became Santa Claus. Different parts of the story are quite delightful Necile, the whittling of the first toy cat to using clay to make dolls all gifts that he loved giving to children in need.
Did not care for the dark Awgwas, jealous beings.
The meaning behind all things Christmas, Stockings, Tree and Christmas eve. I loved Flossie and Glossie in helping Claus use the fireplaces to enter the homes and how Santa became Santa.
The tale is very warming, charming and full of fantasy that is Frank Baum!
I cannot wait to reread this next year and start a new tradition every Christmas!
This short, quick read is perfect for children and adults alike.Baum chronicles Santa’s life from his childhood in an enchanted forest—the same forest that is the source of all magic in the land of Oz—to his destiny of sharing gifts and spreading love to all he meets.
One of the things that I love about Penguin edition books, is their ability to design interactive, intriguing editions for readers. This is just the kind of book I can see families sitting down after Christmas Eve dinner to read aloud together. It’s short and will get readers in the holiday spirit. The inside has beautiful illustrations for reader and audience to enjoy.
The book itself is beautifully designed—with foil-stamped jackets, decorative end papers, and nameplates for personalization—and printed in a small trim size that makes them perfect stocking stuffers!
The cover of this book just begs to be read. When it first arrived in my mailbox I instantly fell in love with the charming red cardinal on the cover! Penguin knows how to do the holidays right by designing sweet covers for wonderful holiday reads and gifts. This book has been out as a decoration on my table since Thanksgiving and everyone who comes by to visit always picks it up and takes a look!
Along the way we witness him making his first toys, learn the origins of the Christmas tree and Christmas stockings, and discover the stories behind many Christmas secrets, like why Santa slides down chimneys, how he picks his reindeer, and how he delivers all his toys in one night. While this story of Santa is a little different from traditional Santa stories (this one Santa is in the pagan world so to speak), it’s still super festive and a version that will thrill children and adults!
A whimsical tale on the origins of Santa Claus. Unlike Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, L. Frank Baum’s imaginings have not made it into the Christmas canon. I think his overwhelming success with Oz more than makes up for it though!
Well, all the female characters were named things like Bessie and Flossie and Lottie (except for Queen Verleen, of course) and all the boys were named TukTuk and Weekins and Nup. There were creatures called Rills and Nuks (what, no winkies or munchkins?), and of course there was The Chief Woodsman, Great Ack.
Because of course there was.
I think when I was a kid I would have gone hard for this, but as an adult, and one who has read a lot of Santa Claus origin stories, this one was so incredibly twee, and so very, very much like the Oz books, just with Santa instead of Dorothy, that was was not all that impressed.
The audiobook is read with great verve by Tony Hale, though, so that was fun.
What an adorable little book. I picked it up now because Christmas! and also because I needed something a bit fluffy for a few moments. It fit the bill perfectly as I was able to plow through it in just over an hour. Anyone familiar with Baum's more popular Oz series knows that his writing does not require a lot of focus, yet his stories are charming enough that a reader can't help but give it the attention it deserves.
This book covers the life of Santa Claus - when he was found by wood nymphs, how he started making toys for children, how he made friends with reindeer (sorry, kids, no Rudolph here!), how he gained his immortality, and everything else we know and love about the story of Santa Claus.
Of course, this is the Americanized version of the Santa Claus story, about the jolly, old, white dude, but there's a bit more too, like his elves aren't quite the familiar elves we know. He knows Jack Frost, but doesn't care much for him 'cause Jack Frost is sort of a dick (something that comes up in a sanitized way in the animated film, Rise of the Guardians, if you're interested). I don't have children, but I imagine that kids have a lot of questions like "Why does Santa do this?" and "Why does Santa do that?" because I know I asked a lot of questions when I was a kid. This book answers a lot of those questions. But, again, it's the same information we all seem to know. (At least in America.)
Baum wrote this book for one of his sons, which I think is adorable. But the story didn't take off the same way the Oz books did because people are fiends and only like what they know. I enjoyed this book because it was different from what I expect from Baum. But at the same time, it's still the jolly, old, white dude that we've grown up knowing and loving. It's a slightly more pagan version of his life, which is refreshing, but really just one culture's interpretation. Therefore, it's not a very universal story, and I wonder if that wasn't why it didn't gain as much popularity as his Oz books.
In any case, Merry fucking Christmas and shit. I hope it's jolly.
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. Most interesting, Baum's Santa Claus is a champion of children, because they are helpless, and particularly poor children because they are in need. This is why Santa gives away toys for free, to ease the hard burderns of life on the little ones. I find this a healthy antidote to the CEO-like Santa we see in contemporary films, who runs a factory with assembly lines, and probably denies the Elves workman's comp and health insurance! Baum's Santa is a true champion of the downtrodden. A Folk-hero, who is no mere giver of trinkets, but a champion of social justice, an enemy of exploitation, and a hardened ally of the poor and suffering. The only reason I can't give this book 5 stars is that it is infused with the early 20th century fascinating with fairys, which comes off today as rather odd. And the book has numerous odd elements. Even worse, Baum does not use the reindeer names we know so well, but odd names like "Flossie" and "Glossie." AND THEY DON'T EVEN FLY!!! Still, I recommend this book for the Holidays. Should I ever have children, I will one day read it to them!
Not at all what I was expecting, but then, I have just read several Oz books, so I should have known better than to think anything created by their author would conform to expectations. I found this book very charming, delighted that it situates Claus in a pagan world, eventually earning the honorific "Santa" from the parents of happy children. But he starts out as an ordinary mortal, and the other immortals must vote unanimously to give him the immortality he currently enjoys. Like the Oz books, there is lots of magic, but always described in a kind of matter-of-fact way that makes it easier to accept. Unlike Oz, which is clearly supposed to be that different place where magic is taken for granted, the Claus story is more or less our world, but I was happy to have it enchanted by the great L. Frank Baum. Highly recommended, neither for the Realist nor the Religious, but for those of us who like a nice bit of drifting in the spaces between. For the record, now that I have read this book, I definitely believe in Santa Claus. Even explains why parents might buy gifts in toy stores despite Santa's largesse, so there!
I can't believe this is only the second book I have read by L Frank Baum. (The first was the Wizard of Oz). I should set myself a goal to perhaps read everyone of his books before I turn 50. I better read quickly.
So this book "almost" read like a biography of Santa Claus. I will leave it at that just in case any five-year-olds read my reviews. Wink wink.
It is such a fantastical beautiful story that includes all different types of immortals such as wood nymphs, goblins, sprites, etc.
And for anybody that watches project runway I suspect the Tim Gunn save came from this book. Wink wink.
V-ati intrebat vreodata cine l-a crescut pe Mos Craciun? Ce nume a avut acesta inainte sa devina Mos Craciun? Care a fost prima jucarie creata de el? Cum a facut rost de materialele necesare pentru jucarii? Cum arata prima papusa creata? Care au fost primele animale care au tras sania Mosului si cum de Mos Craciun nu moare niciodata? Daca da, aveti in aceasta carte toate raspunsurile! Am savurat-o din scoarta in scoarta si pot spune ca a fost excelenta! Mi-a raspuns la multe intrebari ale copilului din mine♥️ Este minunata si o recomand atat pentru lectura copiilor cat mai ales pentru cea a adultilor♥️🎅🏻 5❄️
A fun biography of Santa Claus from his abandonment as a babe at the edge of a woods where he is nurtured by various fay folk. He makes it his life's mission to make children happy even to inventing toys & then to distributing them to kids around the world, no matter who they are or how inattentive their parents might be. He has some troubles, but always the good powers of the world help him out. The people turn him into a saint & the fay make him immortal, one of them. The deer aren't named the same, but otherwise this as good of an origin story as I've ever read. What else could I expect from the creator of "The Wizard of Oz" though?
I think this would be great for anyone to read, no matter their age. It even explains why parents help out & why he's so tough to see. Adults will find plenty of ideas for talking to their kids about Xmas & Claus no matter their age. It's also completely free of any religious stuff.