I am sure Paul Laud is a nice person. And if you are reading this Mr. Laud, please know that I respect and appreciate the hard work, effort and time that went into creating The House that Santa (Almost) Missed. I empathize with the dedication it takes to work at something you hope to share with others. And I know that creating a book is not easy. Far from it, in fact. However, if Santa asks you what I want for Christmas this year, please do not say this book.
The rhyming text is a cliched tactic. Holiday (especially Christmas) books have had this technique done again and again and again and … you get the point. The artwork is, at best, a bad cartoon TV special you remember seeing as a child, find it on some cable station, watch and remember why you did not go looking for it before now. The fact the kids believe that the cat and dog wrote the tags and wrapped the gifts they find under the tree without blinking is spooky. The arrogance of the children is believable, but pointless. Perhaps if all of them (children and pets) realized that the storm was so bad that Santa missed them and then the four of them try to make Christmas special for the rest of the family, maybe that would have been more charming. There is the one piece of the story (though tainted by a seemly passive insult) is where the pets try to contact Santa by barking and one tiny meow that (of course) was just the right amount of push needed to send the message to The Big Guy Up North.
Overall, this book was flat. And not just because it is a picture book. There is nothing new, fresh or fun about it. I would like to think that Santa was smart enough to realize: “I am on Main Street. I hit five houses here. I only did four.” Sure, it is the very last stop before he heads back North and is probably tired, stuffed to the gills because of those cookies, ready to stop smelling reindeer toots and head to bed with the Mrs., but this is SANTA! One would think he would be more organized than that.
I am sorry to say, this book about the love of the season needs to be on the naughty list.