The Twelve Surprises for Santa and a Review of Nooks and Crannies

Hurray…we’ve had our first real snowfall…our little New England village is a fairytale wonderland. I really do enjoy the look of the snow…I just don’t like to drive in it.

Today is Friday. But before our book review, I want to tell you something else VERY IMPORTANT!


 Yesterday was the first day of Susanna Hill’s Mostly-World-Famous Holiday Writing Contest. Click here for the guidelines…there is still time for you to enter and join in the fun! When you finish reading my book review, you can scroll down and read my entry to the contest.

And now, since Susanna won’t have her Perfect Picture Book Friday link up, I’m reviewing a middle grade mystery I would have LOVED to read when I was a kid. The author is Jessica Lawson. You will meet her tomorrow on Will Write for Cookies. How special is that? I hope you will come back tomorrow…there will be a giveaway of a copy of the book.



Written by Jessica Lawson

Illustrated by Natalie Andrewson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2016)

Ages: 8-12


Courage, teamwork, investigative skills


From Amazon:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Clue when six children navigate a mansion full of secrets—and maybe money—in this “delightful gem” (School Library Journal, starred review) with heart.

Sweet, shy Tabitha Crum, the neglected only child of two parents straight out of a Roald Dahl book, doesn’t have a friend in the world—except for her pet mouse, Pemberley, whom she loves dearly. But on the day she receives one of six invitations to the country estate of wealthy Countess Camilla DeMoss, her life changes forever.

Upon the children’s arrival at the sprawling, possibly haunted mansion, it turns out the countess has a very big secret—one that will change their lives forever.

Then the children beginning disappearing, one by one. So Tabitha takes a cue from her favorite detective novels and, with Pemberley by her side, attempts to solve the case and rescue the other children…who just might be her first real friends.

Opening Lines:

 “Just past three o’clock in the afternoon, when schools across London were releasing much-adored children by the bucketful, Tabitha Crum was ushered into the cold as well.”

Why I like this book:

  • As I said earlier, I loved books like this when I was a kid…the girl who no one thinks much of is the one who perseveres and solves the mystery…a modern-day Nancy Drew.
  • Don’t you just love the names: Tabitha Crum, Camilla Lenore DeMoss: Countess of Windermere, Barnaby Trundle, Edward Herringbone.
  • I plan to send a copy of this book to my 10-year old granddaughter for Christmas…I think it is the perfect book for a delicious afternoon of reading.




But wait!!!!!! Don’t go yet!!!!!! Please stay and read my entry to Susanna Hill’s Mostly World Famous Holiday Writing Contest. Here’s a quick run-through of the guidelines: Write a children’s holiday story of 300 words or less, based on The Twelve Days of Christmas. To read the other entries, please visit Susanna’s blog.



by Vivian Kirkfield


On the first day of Christmas, Santa grumbled, groaned, and gritted his teeth. “Last night was too cold,” he told Mrs. Claus. “No more Christmas Eve deliveries for me.”

Just then, a package arrived.

Before Santa could open it, Mrs. Claus snatched it away. “Just some treats for the reindeer.”

On the second day of Christmas, another package arrived. Santa had already peeled off the tape when Mrs. Claus grabbed it. “Just some vitamins for the elves.”

On the third day of Christmas, Santa waited by the front door. He’d be ready this time. But Mrs. Claus had told the mailman to come around to the back.

For nine more days, boxes arrived at the North Pole. Santa always seemed to be doing something else when the package was delivered. Talking on the phone. Feeding the reindeer. Going to the bathroom. Eating a snack. Taking a nap. Reading a book. Ironing his shirt. Trimming his beard. Polishing his boots.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Santa came down for breakfast. He stopped. He stared. He sputtered. “W-w-what’s all this?” Instead of eggs and oatmeal and juice, the table was filled with presents. Twelve of them.

Mrs. Claus smiled. “You give gifts to all the children,” she said. “These are for you.”

Santa could hardly believe it. It felt like…Christmas. He opened the boxes.

Twelve woolen mittens.

Eleven quilted blankets.

Ten fleecy jackets.

Nine velvet earmuffs.

Eight hats with pompoms.

Seven red suspenders.

Six flannel nightshirts.

Five underpants.

Four knitted scarves.

Three long johns.

Two balaclavas.

And a super-duper heated seat cushion.

Santa tried on all the clothes. He tested the seat-warmer.

He looked at the calendar. “We’d better start making new toys,” he told Mrs. Claus. “I can’t wait for next Christmas Eve.”

                                                  The End



64 thoughts on “The Twelve Surprises for Santa and a Review of Nooks and Crannies

  1. Nooks and Crannies sounds like a great book, Vivian. Thank you for sharing it. It’s on my list.
    I love your story. Santa going to the bathroom!! Ironing! Who’d ever hear of it? It’s delightful. Children would love it and get a giggle out of it, as would the adults reading it. I love the way it breaks rules that need to be broken, but in a fun way. The twelve gifts are perfect for Santa, and perfectly in rhythm. Nice that Santa gets the presents too. I agree with Patricia. I think you’ve written a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally, Leslie! I love fleecy coverups on these cold days…so I figured he’d appreciate them also. 😉 We have those seat warmer controls in our car…it made sense for Santa to have a heated cushion on his sleigh. 😉


  2. I wouldn’t make it home on these cold, snowy NY nights without my seat warmer; I’m so happy Santa got his too, along with all his other fabulous gifts! I really loved this story, we often forget about the big guy, glad you didn’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a perfect twist on the 12 Days, Vivian! As someone who seems to feel the cold more with every passing year, I can SO appreciate Santa’s surprise gifts to keep him warm and happy! And though Princess Blue Kitty happens to have heated seats, I think I’d like to try out that seat-warmer during my BIC computer time 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the fun, and for being such a super-fan and reading and commenting on all the entries! Happy Holidays!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • No snow???? Not for the likes of you, dear Nancy…as you lay in the hot Florida sun. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by…I’m glad you liked the story…did you get a chance to read some of the others? They were lots of fun! One of my 2017 resolutions is to get back to visiting some of my favorite blogs…like your!!! Hope your holidays are filled with joy, love, and blessings overflowing. 😉
      You know…it was you who suggested I check out Susanna Hill’s picture book blog all those years ago…see what you started? 😉 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t read any of the others this time . . . since I’m a bit pressed for time. My niece is getting married in Orlando on Sunday and “everyone” is in town for the celebration. My brother and his 4 kids are coming for a tour of “our” island tomorrow. A happy hectic!

        I knew you would love Susanna’s picture book blog! A perfect fit.


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