Review Blog

Dec 21 2016

The night Santa got lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas by Michael Keane

cover image

Ill. by Michael Garland. Regency Kids, 2015. ISBN 9781621573982
'On a day long ago began NORAD's tradition-
Tracking Santa's red sleigh on his once-a-year mission.
Using radar and satellites - fighter jets too!
Reporting on Santa, wherever he flew'.
But one Christmas Eve a blizzard rolls in and so Santa leaves the North Pole early much to the dismay of NORAD who weren't prepared for the unscheduled start. And as the green blip disappears off the radar screen and there is no sign of Santa or his reindeer, panic ensues. A four star general and the Commander-in-Chief order the fighter jets into the air and every last piece of technology the US Air Force has is set to searching for Santa.
Eventually he is found buried deep in a snow drift but now it is too late to get all the presents to the children in the traditional way of reindeer and sleigh, so once again the bigwigs put their heads together and come up with a most audacious plan that involves NATO and other US allies, battleships, cruisers, submarines, helicopters, C-17s, trucks and tanks and every other sort of transport available to the military. And for those places where 'The children love Santa, but the leaders say no', there are Special Ops, Navy SEALS and tough Army Rangers.
Will their mission succeed? Will they get to all the children of the world in time?
Dedicated to the children whose parents 'allow us to live in a world where we have the freedom to believe in Santa Claus' this is a very different story for Christmas, one that acknowledges those who serve by showing them in a less-than-traditional setting. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) is a joint United States and Canadian military organisation and for over 60 years it has tracked Santa's flight each December 24. Children can watch where he is by going to the website or downloading an app so they know when they have to get into bed after their tour of the local Christmas lights as more than 1500 people trace his every movement through 47 radar installations in Northern Canada and Alaska, alerting them to when Santa actually leaves the North Pole, and satellites at about 22,000 miles above the Earth with infrared sensors, which see the heat coming off of Rudolph's nose. In addition, there are high-speed digital SantaCams set up around the world to catch a glimpse of him passing by the different cities.
Written in the vein of The night before Christmas this is one that even older children will enjoy. While predominantly American and with several pages of explanations at the end, nevertheless it will resonate particularly with children whose family members are in the services.
A trailer is available.
Barbara Braxton

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