ISBN 0590115049 - In my house, it is now the season for reading through the piles of childrens' Christmas books. The pleasure is all mine, now, with only a grown child, and it's one I really enjoy. Santa Claus, Inc., although not especially original or unique, is one of this year's pleasures for me.
Nick Martin hasn't believed in Santa Claus for a while, but he's managed to con his parents into thinking he does because he's certain that believing gets him more presents. When his parents sit him down to talk to him about Santa, Nick is sure that the jig is up - and it is, but not the way he thinks! Turns out, according to his parents, that there really is a Santa Claus and it's his grandfather. Even stranger, really, is that Santa is really Santa Claus, Inc., a family-owned company. The oldest son of each generation takes his place as the new Santa when he turns 50 and now, at 10, Nick is due to start his training. That summer, he's flown to the family's northern home and begins, only to discover that he's really, really not cut out for this job. His efforts to drag Santa Claus, Inc. into the computer age go wrong, his reindeer allergies surprise everyone and, even if he could drive the sleigh, he's afraid of heights! The business won't fail, however, because Nick's twin sister is perfect - except for being a girl! - for the job.
The twist isn't entirely novel and, in fact, is almost identical to the story in ASIN: B000VKKV30, Santa Baby (a movie), although the movie features an adult daughter. Still, this is a cute, entertaining story for the holiday season. The book, marked for ages 8 to 12, might appeal more to the younger end of that age range, especially those struggling to hold onto their belief in Santa. I found myself with only one annoyance - both the front and back covers mention elves on strike, but inside the book there ARE no elves. Santa Claus, Inc. employs short Laplanders, instead. That aside, this is an enjoyable and quick read at 72 pages and adults will enjoy it as much as kids.