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Catching Santa (The Kringle Chronicles, Book 1) by Marc Franco

Just to be up front, I got this as an advance reader copy to review from LibraryThing.Com.

This is the first in the Kringle series by Marc Franco and is a young adult novel.  In it, Jakob is an 11 year boy that is easily distracted, doesn't pay attention and can often be found doodling in class instead of listening to his teachers. On the last day before Christmas vacation, Jakob is teased mercilessly when his classmates steal some of his doodles (featuring Santa!) and pass them around to each other. Jakob, later that day, receives two mysterious emails from S.R. that essentially tell him that the best way to make people who don't believe in Santa actually believe in him is to catch Santa. Later on in the novel, we learn that the main antagonist from the day before break - Rick- is missing and actually makes a panicked call to Jakob, prompting Jakob to being his search for Rick and eventually, Santa himself.

The story itself was was a tremendous story. I enjoyed it and I think that it would appeal to younger children as well - there is a lot for them to relate to and to imagine.  However, there were some drawbacks that would make me hesitate to recommend this for a child say under the age of 7.  Mr. Franco uses some words that may not be understandable to younger readers. Some words used by Jakob aren't words that I would think that an 11 year old would understand, let alone use in their everyday speech. For instance, the word portly is used - what 11 year old actually knows what that word means let alone uses it?  Other words, such as hyperactive, appear when Jakob is talking, which is also unreasonable for most 11 year olds. The editing also needed some work - there were a lot of run on sentences that could have been split into multiple sentences. It was a good first book, with good ideas and showed a lot of creativity and potential.  Hope to see more from this author.

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