The Year Santa Stubbed His Toe by William M. Hayes is a whimsical Christmas story in which Santa, yes, stubs his toe (not once, but twice) and he can’t complete his Christmas duties. He enlists four elves to help him complete his Christmas deliveries, which may just end up changing how people think about St. Nick.
This is definitely a book for parents to read to their children, as the prose is advanced – lyrical and well-written, to be sure, but complex for a new reader. Its lyricism really makes the book a stand-out. This isn’t a cookie-cutter Christmas story. Hayes really gets into the details about the North Pole in a fun and oftentimes funny way. He creatively paints each scene, and even parents may just end up believing in Santa Claus by book’s end.
There are some problems with the prose – most of all an overuse of sentence fragments. In small doses, it can seem like a stylistic choice, while here it seems more like a grammatical mistake. This will also affect the rhythm of reading the book out loud, to which it’s mostly well-suited. The book could also have used some illustrations – something along the lines of Roald Dahl’s work, to which it has a similarity, at least in sophistication, if not theme.