Illustrated and Written by Rubin Pingk
Jacket design by Chloë Foglia
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Welcome to the shorts SHORT Review for the month of December, during this time I like to think about Santa Claus and all that he does for us. Mind you it varies from person to person and plot to plot, though in the short and long he give us hope and magic, but he wants family and peace. In this month we'll be looking at the different types of the Jolly Postman and his Flying Saucer, so get ready to feel the different life and times of Father Christmas.
This is my favorite type of Santa, the Warrior Santa, the brute, the big bad jolly man handing out presents and fists. For some reason I enjoy this version of Santa Claus the most and if there's one thing in my heart of hearts it's Santa leading an army of his own design into a fray, sword pointing toward the threat and blood boiling in his veins. The only peace on Earth will be those that rest in it, under six feet of soil or snow, yeah, it's a dark Santa, but a lovely tale.
Gom and Tea Steeping have a bout in the snow
Who will win? Snow or Sword!
Similar to this dream the plot talks about a desire for an epic snowball fight between young Shinobi and Samurai Santa. It's an interesting choice for Santa, since the natural enemy (and for the most part the martial training of a ninja is to kill) of the Ninja is the Samurai. Though this is a story about peace and they all seem like a more modern group of children, since they all know that Santa exists and want to be good. I've never known a snowball fight to not get rowdy, though with the proper objective and supervision the event could be a very fun way to pass the time, so I understand why Yukio (our protagonist/antagonist) would want to have an amazing winter celebration with friends in the snow.
Gom and Tea Steeping enjoy a nice snowball fight with a favorite treat of the group.
The level of detail that was put into this Children's Illustrated Novel was very well researched and taken into account for this book. It not only allows the reader to see what Shinobi would do to blend well into their surroundings (Yukio, and his white outfit), but it also gave the feeling that this was a place that not many traveled. The use of negative space really put the perspective of the World, that ninja are secret from the world, they are hidden from sight and will finish their target no matter what, if not for just the release of leaving their home. Also that there is fields of snow, all ready for packing into that perfect snowball and hurling it (playfully) at friends. Everything feel so cut from fabric, though soft and rounds, it's a great touch to the mood and characters.
Best thing about Samurai Santa was the plot didn't feel out of place, it felt like there wasn't any talking down, that Yukio was a capable ninja and able to stop a grown man and give his friends an amazing snow battle to remember. Though we find out that Yukio didn't want to take from his friends, but have them play and enjoy life, lucky for him Santa agreed. Everything about this screams fun and takes on elements of Japanese Culture, like Santa's red War paint (since it reminds me of Kabuki or a Tengu mask or Oni designs to scare soldiers in battle), the house's alarm gong (which seemed to be influenced from theater and less on ninja history, though I wouldn't put it past them to just some sort of alarm system simular), and the Shinai (bamboo sword). This is a great book to get one into the spirit of family and into the odd antics of Santa Claus. If you're a person that wants to teach a bit of culture (in a broad form) to children and have said kids want to have good wishes come true to their loved ones, then take a look at this wonderful Children's Illustrated Novel, if not for that then for the amazing artistic talent that put it all together.
I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.