By: Barbara Joosse
Illustrated by: Kim Barnes
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: August 2021
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 2021
There are lots of Christmas stories about Santa Claus and his adventures, but few tell the tale of how Santa got his start. Author Barbara Joosse does just that in her new book, Just Be Claus.
Clausie wasn't the typical baby...while other infants cried and fussed, Clausie was always happy and had a jolly little laugh. As time went by, that laugh just grew and grew. He also always wore the same red shirt and daydreamed when he was supposed to be playing hockey. And much to Coach Fox's dismay, Clausie was so intent on helping others, that he even sometimes helped the other team score so they wouldn't be sad.
Clausie was happy all the time, and loved to play with Dasher, his very, very big dog. He also had a secret workshop where he and Grannie loved to make things like thingamajigs and leg warmers for Dasher. While Clausie was happy, he was also lonely because "...his differences made him feel out of place."
Grannie told Clausie that his differences were what made him special, but the young boy wasn't convinced. "You're creative, thoughtful, and generous...Just be you. Just be Claus," she insisted. But he still wasn't convinced. But then, when a big snowstorm came and the train carrying everyone's Christmas presents couldn't get through, Clausie set to work on a way to get gifts to everyone. Would his plan work?
Just Be Claus is a fun Christmas tale that will undoubtedly delight young children. The whole story has a happy vibe that spreads throughout the pages. The illustrations are bright and have a strong emphasis on shades of red and green, helping to set the Christmas spirit. Dasher the big, big dog was particularly notably, adding a serious dose of cuteness. If you love reading Christmas stories at bedtime to your little one, consider adding this one to your bookshelf - your child will love it.
Quill says: Just Be Claus is a sweet Christmas story that shows children being different and helping others are wonderful things to be celebrated.