Bill Harley's Dear Santa is subtitled The Letters of James B. Dobbins, and consists of heartfelt letters from young James. His missives start with a list of many wants, including new hockey skates, a canoe, a tree fort and, very importantly, No clothes! The next day he sends another letter, adding that he would love a hockey rink in his backyard, and explaining that he hasn't done anything horrible to Jessica, THE MOST ANNOYING FOUR-YEAR-OLD SISTER ON THE PLANET. Entertainment Weekly has called singer-songwriter Bill Harley the Mark Twain of contemporary kids' music, and as the mother of three avid fans, I heartily agree. Harley always manages to be hilarious and slip in meaning at the same time a tricky feat, and one he manages deftly in Dear Santa. Young James gets wrapped up in his Christmas desires, but in the end, he realizes that the true gift is in the giving. R.W. Alley's lively illustrations add to the impish fun.

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