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The Christmas Coal Man
ISBN: 9781467716079
Author: Kulka, Joe
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Published: September 2015
Retail: $17.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 83%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Annotation: Working hard throughout the year in dark mines to collect the coal that Santa distributes to children on the naughty list, a Coal Man saves money for an island vacation to share with his mule and canary and gets a big surprise while making his annual delivery to the North Pole.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Christmas & Advent
- Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations
Library of Congress Subjects:
Christmas stories.
Coal miners; Juvenile fiction.
Coal; Juvenile fiction.
Dewey: [E]
LCCN: 2013035167
Lexile Measure: 670
Academic/Grade Level: Kindergarten, Ages 5-6
Book type: Easy Fiction
Target Grade: Preschool
Grade level: Preschool
Physical Information: 0.75" H x 75.00" L x 9.50" W
Bargain Category: Picture Books, Myths & Legends, Holiday/Seasonal, Growing Up, Early Elementary, Animals
Grade level(s): Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring)
The Coal Man has been saving up to move to a tropical island. Unfortunately, Santa has bad news: he no longer needs the Coal Man's services ("The whole coal-in-the-stocking thing just isn't working"). This is an inspired elaboration on an overlooked aspect of the Christmas mythology, and everybody celebrates in the end. Too bad the art can be off-puttingly foreboding.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2015 September #2)

Employed by Santa, a grizzled old man labors away in a dreary mine, loosening lumps of coal with his pickax while dreaming of retiring to a tropical island. After the man makes his annual trek to deliver his coal to the North Pole Santa announces that he doesn't need it: "The whole coal-in-the-stocking thing just isn't working." Instead, Santa plans to reward good children with "something extra special." Thanks to a surprise gift from Santa, the coal man not only relocates to the tropics but also performs a cheerier task: collecting special seashells for "only the best boys and girls." Kulka's vibrant artwork uses humor and lightly caricatured characterizations to enliven what's initially a fairly gloomy setup—the miner's faithful mule sports a pink hair bow and impossibly long eyelashes, while the man himself trades his miner's hat for a Hawaiian shirt as he embraces semi-retirement. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2015 October)

K-Gr 2—An old coal miner; his donkey, Jenny; and his canary, Pete, work hard, carefully chipping away at the coal for Santa to place in the stockings of naughty children. The little family dreams of moving to a warm tropical island, but times are tough, and money is tight. Things take a turn for the worse when Santa retires the coal concept and tells the man that his services are no longer needed. Just when readers think they've stumbled across the most depressing Christmas story ever, the coal man discovers that Santa has actually swapped a bag of diamonds for his coal. This explanation for the coal legend is an unusual approach for a Christmas story and is unsuccessful. The premise and many of the details, such as canary Pete and the coal's man forced retirement, will be lost on younger listeners. The soft-focused, computer-enhanced illustrations are enervating. VERDICT A tacked-on "happily ever after" ending can't save this ill-conceived offering.—Brooke Sheets, Los Angeles Public Library

[Page 65]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.