cover image The Truth about Santa Claus

The Truth about Santa Claus

James Cross Giblin. T.Y. Crowell Junior Books, $16 (86pp) ISBN 978-0-690-04483-6

Giblin's new book is meant for young readers but adults can learn from it a great deal about the jolly fat man in the red suit. Like the author's Chimney Sweeps, Walls: Defenses Throughout History, etc., this book is based on solid research and illustrated by period and contemporary pictures. The text starts with an investigation of St. Nicholas who lived in Asia Minor circa a.d. 280. A bishop, Nicholas was known for his generosity to needy folk and credited with miraculous powers. Giblin traces the evolution of Santa Claus down the centuries to Father Christmas in England and Sinter Claes in Holland. He became our Santa Claus in America during the 1800s, thanks to four men whose efforts ensured acceptance of the Yuletide gift-giver: John Pintard and Washington Irving of the New-York Historical Society, Clement Clark Moore and cartoonist Thomas Nast. Their histories alone make an absorbing read. (812)