Home > Book Reviews > Book Review: The Man in the Cinder Clouds (Review by: Sher A. Hart)

Book Review: The Man in the Cinder Clouds (Review by: Sher A. Hart)

By: Sher A. Hart

Please read the blurb to learn the premise. Who could resist a book written by an elf about the origins of Santa Clause? I couldn’t, and I’m a little past (okay, way past) the target audience’s age. The book was a little like the Princess Bride, a story inside a story. In this case, I’d say nested Christmas presents, and altogether a very nice package with plenty of excitement in the unwrapping.

Too bad I had to fly back home before I finished reading to my sister’s grandchildren. We went through 8 chapters while driving around seeing Christmas displays. Every time we got back in the car, they wanted more. I was sad they never got to enjoy some very funny stuff about the animals pulling the sleigh, not the ones you think. Rick’s dialogue was often funny, an important skill to keep kids and teens entertained. Okay, adults too.

There were also some tense moments for Kris Kringle along the way to proving to the Elfs that there was some goodness in mankind. Explaining how two children’s lives were in danger would spoil the story, so just make sure not to leave off at those places right before bedtime if reading to very young children. Yes, you should read it to very young children. I read Tolkien to my kindergarten son when he balked at learning to read, and he became a voracious reader. Try this book on your young ones if you don’t believe me.

If you’re still not convinced, but have ever seen your children act selfish or mean, you won’t find a better way to convince them to mend their ways without them knowing they’re being taught. They’ll also gain a new appreciation for the necessities of life like a home, food, warm clothing, and health. You’ll also find out how Santa’s hair turned white, how he fits all those toys into one bag, and a sleighful of other neat surprises. Overall, it was a very inventive story.

I was surprised to find how well written the book was until I remembered Rick’s writing background. And then Susan Quinn, author of the awesome YA Open Minds, told me Rick is in her Indelibles group, which may partly explain the very clean copy. The book isn’t perfect. As a writer I would have given it 4.5 stars, but for kids and teens it’s a definite 5 star. Go buy it now. If your children are young now,they’ll want to read it every year,eventually to their own kids.

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