Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke

When Santa Fell To Earth by Cornelia Funke
Review by Cheri Williams

A 2006 U.S. release, When Santa Fell To Earth is a less than traditional tale told in Funkesque style. The Great Christmas Council, consisting of hundreds of Santas, goes bad under the leadership of Gerold Geronimus Goblynch. After turning all but one of the reindeer into salami, the money-hungry, tradition-crushing Goblynch unjustly bars Niklas Goodfellow from working as a Santa.

Niklas (who is the last true Santa), two pint-sized angels, and a drawerful of hilariously grumpy elves, find themselves stranded on Earth when their invisible, marzipan-loving reindeer panics in a storm.

“Terrified, Twinklestar reared up, broke his reins, and bolted down toward Earth. Niklas Goodfellow’s reindeerless caravan swayed from side to side like a boat on a churning sea. Then it toppled forward into the swirling clouds, Niklas tumbled out of bed, hitting his head on the leg of a chair, and rolled helter-skelter under a table” (Page 2).

With Goblynch’s band of giant, evil Nutcrackers in hot pursuit and the threat of being turned into a chocolate Santa looming large, the clan joins forces with two neighborhood kids to set Christmas right.

The poetic style, dazzling imagery and timeless themes Funke is famous for are certainly present in this book, and exquisite pencil drawings by Paul Howard brilliantly complement the richness of her writing. The main question that weighs in my mind is whether a middle grader will buy into the concept of Santa. If so, this book is sure to please.

It’s also important to keep in mind that When Santa Fell To Earth is not part of the Inkheart trilogy. With far less sub-plotting, emotion and conflict, this book is shorter and simpler in every way. That’s not to say it’s less in anyway. It’s simply for the youngest end of the 9 to12-year old range.

More Info:
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The Chicken House; 1 edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 043978204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439782043


  1. I did this as a read aloud before Christmas. I loved the book. The kids did too. The Caravan made me think of Red Skelton.

    Most importantly it answered the question how Santa can do the world in one night.

  2. OOooohh...thanks for this post. I have been looking for a good Christmas story, other than the standard...night before Christmas!

  3. We're never too old for Santa, right?