Happy Book Birthday, Great Santa Stakeout!
It’s here, it’s here, it’s here here here here!
Folks, I like self-promotion just about as much as I like yanking hanks of hair out of my head. But look, I can promote a book a lot better when I have someone as magnificent as Dan Santat in my corner. Today, I am pleased as punch to announce the publication of my brand spanking new picture book THE GREAT SANTA STAKEOUT! Is it too early for Christmas? It is. Is it too early for promotion of a Santa-related picture book? NEVER!!
Here is a quick breakdown of the plot: So you have this kid. His name is Freddie Melcher . . .
Oo ooo! This one is for the librarians out there. Kirkus (who was exceedingly kind with their review, calling it “holiday picture-book excellence”) thought his name was, “a clever variant of the Wise Man moniker, Melchior”. I rather love that interpretation, and I’d be more than willing to embrace it, except that I had another reason in mind for Freddie’s name. In my previous picture book I named a character’s toys Moore, Carroll, and Anne. Eh? Eh? Get it? Freddie, meanwhile, is a nickname for Frederic. So that little reference is for all the librarians out there.
In any case, Freddie loves Santa. Yeah, no he doesn’t love Santa he FLIPPING ADORES THE GUY!!! I mean, the kid is obsessed. He’s got it all. I mean, check out this shot Dan did of Freddie’s room:
I don’t know if you can see it but that Santa action figure has “64 points of articulation”. I’m 41-years-old and I’m not wholly sure that I have 64 points of articulation left.
You see that frame Freddie’s pointing to, by the way? It’s empty. You know what he wants to go in there? A picture of himself with Santa. You know how he’s gonna get it? With hijinks, my friend. Many many hijinks. And they are going to ensue.
When you’ve written a picture book and you have been paired with a high-caliber illustrator, you sort of have this sense that you’re not really worthy of the amount of time and energy the artist put into the piece. That’s definitely the case here, because Dan went above and beyond the call of duty. He even worked in jokes that were funnier than MY jokes, doggone it! I guess that’s the risk of working with talent.
And here’s the thing. Dan agreed to do the book even though EVEN THOUGH he will now have to deal with the comment, “Oh! For a second I misread/mistyped/misspoke the title as THE GREAT SANTAT STAKEOUT!” for the rest of his life.
So let’s lift a glass to Dan, to this Booklist starred book, and just cap off this happy day of publication with the video we made together.
Thanks, everyone! Self-promotion, out!
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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