cover image Welcome Comfort

Welcome Comfort

Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23169-8

Like Where Does Joe Go? (reviewed above), this warm blend of fantasy and reality delivers a satisfying surprise ending. Ostracized at school, an overweight foster child named Welcome Comfort is befriended by the equally rotund school custodian, who heads out of town with his wife every Christmas Eve (""It's just something we always do""). Plucked from his bed for a sleigh ride with Santa, Welcome wonders for years if the trip was just a dream, and finds the answer only after Mr. Hamp retires and chooses him as his successor. Polacco's artwork is even more vibrant than usual, and her Santa scenes are sure-fire crowd-pleasers. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)