Although it has alternative titles (and alternative authors) this remains a perennial children’s classic and has said the majority of the foundation myths for the modern day Santa legend (he keeps his exact Christmas Eve protocol a tight secret of course so its impossible to replicate properly in fiction).
It tells the story of a teddy bear who witnesses the magic way Santa delievers his presents in simple rhyme.
Its phrases and symbols have entered a whole host of other Christmas books and even popular culture. During a Christmas episode of the classic American TV series <i>Friends</i>, Chandler remarks when asked to leave whilst wearing a Santa suit ‘But I didn’t get to shake my belly like a bowl full of jelly!’ and in the anarchic modern film adaption of How The Grinch Stole Christmas (reviewed yesterday) the Grinch literally steals sugarplums dancing in the heads of small children on screen.
Also, despite the distinct lack of Rudolph at a part of the tale, his creation of Donder, Dancer, Vixen and the rest of the gang has lead to them being included in basically any story about a reindeer.
This required reading for every Christmas celebrating five year old. The cosy illustrations and the lyrical poetry of the words conjure a safe, happy world where strangers coming into your house late at night bring joy rather than despair and potentially years of therapy.