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



About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on December 9, 2016, in Book Review, Holiday Contest, Perfect Pictture Book Friday, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. Love it, Vivian! 12 surprises to keep Santa warm!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharing Vivian Kirkfield’s 12 DAYS OF SURPRIZES FOR SANTA 🎅 with spotlight on Jessica Lawson.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh! Now I want a super duper heated seat cushion! What fun! And I am right there with you on Nooks and Crannies. Sounds like a book I would order if libraries had menus. Oh wait, they kind of do! Guess I’m in luck! Thanks for sharing more marvelous-ness!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this one. So smart, and well thought out!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant Vivian! I just love it! 🎅🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fun, clever story, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh wow, this was lovely Vivian. Cleverly written and I loved how Mrs Claus managed to get the parcels away from Santa and then surprise him. I’m envious, you have snow! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness..wish I could pack it up and send it to you, Diane. 😉 I’d actually like a few days of snow…just around Christmas…and that would be enough.
      Thanks so much for the kind words…yes, Mrs. Claus was very clever. 😉


  8. Sweet story, V. The way I was shivering outside yesterday, Mom wishes I had ALL of Santa’s warm gear. …and the seat cushion would be for her! Good luck!

    Love and licks,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful story Vivian! Very sweet and well written. No excuses for Santa now! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Enjoyed your comfy cozy story!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Midge Ballou Smith

    Really enjoyed your sweet little story, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved your story! And I agree with an above comment~ now I want a super-duper heated seat cushion, too 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and reviewing NOOKS & CRANNIES!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Awww … great story Vivian!! A great twist for Santa to receive his own presents (and he does deserve it, doesn’t he?) And thank you so much for sharing this mystery. It sounds wonderful and will look for it to read with my eight year old! Ho Ho Ho! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The names, the art, the main character…… sounds fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a nice surprise for Santa. Good luck and happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Love it Vivan! So fun and festive!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is really a good story Vivian! Looks like a winner to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Stellar writing, Vivian! Heated seat cushions are the best 🙂 Santa deserves to be spoiled.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. 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

  20. Awww, giving back to Santa. What a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. LOVE the Santa surprise of 12 presents for the jolly gift-giver. And Nooks & Crannies sounds like a great read, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Vivian, you sure wrote this entry with Santa’s comforts in mind. He’s going to be snuggly warm for his long Christmas Eve ride.

    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. 😉


  23. love the seat warmer and the vitamins! Great story

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Well deserved presents for a hard-working Santa! So glad his spirit was renewed!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. So nice to see Santa receive some Christmas surprises for once! Fun and fantastic story, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. LOVE. Brilliant idea here. And executed in such fun way. Great job, Vivian. Excellent writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Wishing everyone a warm tushy for Christmas! Love it Vivian.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. 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

  29. I need a super duper heated seat cushion! Love that!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. 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

  31. Aw! What a sweet story. Santa sure deserves to be treated to some nice things, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Wonderful story, Vivian!

    HO ~ HO ~ HO!
    There’s NO SNOW
    There’s NO SNOW
    There’s NO SNOW

    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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