Celebrate this Christmas with one of my children's favorite holiday books, Santa Claus: The World's Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee. I have read this book countless times, to both my own children and dozens of first graders, and they always delight in seeing how Santa takes extra care to make and test each and every toy before it is sent off.
Here's a sneak peek:
So we begin by establishing that Santa is, in fact, the world's leading expert on toys. (After the holidays, this book has writing workshop written all over it. I want my students to see themselves as experts, too, when we work on our own informational text pieces. I think they'll like returning to this story as I make connections back to writing.)
Santa is very busy doing what "experts" do. He makes sure every toy is fun to play with and inspects each one. It's long and hard work.
The text at the bottom of this page says, "99.9% of the time." I guess even Santa makes mistakes. Oops.
All that hard work is finally done and Santa has saved out something special for himself. (My kids like to predict here, so I hide the next picture while they think and share.)
It's a fun holiday story. My kids always comment about the illustrations... there are many and they're tiny, but the facial expressions and little details are interesting to them. It's a book they like to borrow and reread when I'm done reading it to them.
Here's a little 2-page freebie writing template to go along with the book. For this activity, the children get a chance to show that they are toy experts, too... just like Santa!
You can follow this story up with any Santa-themed craft or art project. I've collected a lot of ideas on a Christmas board on Pinterest. You can find some here if you need a little inspiration or a new idea: "Christmas Keepers" Pinterest Board.