cover image Juniper’s Christmas

Juniper’s Christmas

Eoin Colfer, illus. by Chaaya Prabhat. Roaring Brook, $22.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-32194-7

An 11-year-old seeks the help of Santa Claus, retired to modern-day London following his wife’s death, in a warmhearted Christmas novel from Colfer (the Artemis Fowl series). To honor her late, Ghana-born, London-park-keeper father, Juniper Lane hopes to continue the tradition he started: holding an annual Santa Vigil in the park. But when her white mother, the park’s new keeper, vanishes before the event, a desperate Juniper enlists the aid of reclusive handyman Niko—previously Santa—who spends his days building wooden shelters for the park’s unhoused residents, and whose retirement eight years ago has left a generation of children without faith in Santa Claus. He reluctantly agrees to assist after Juniper is imbued with polar magic of her own, but when a criminally inclined businesswoman seeks to gain control of the Claus powers, the two find themselves in a race to save Christmas. A congenial, omniscient narrator supplies a fresh spin on familiar holiday themes, including forgiveness, healing, and hope. Final art not seen by PW; secondary characters cue as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sophie Hicks, Sophie Hicks Agency. (Oct.)