BOOK REVIEW: How Santa Changed by Karl Steam (Children’s)

Greetings Friends!

While it may seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas, it will come faster than many of us are actually prepared for! 

One of the highlights in our home is an Advent calendar of books and I love being able to find new stories to include in our daily readings. I was recently contacted by the author to REVIEW HOW SANTA CHANGED in order to promote the free Kindle download available today! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to discover this book because it will definitely be added to our must reads for this Christmas season.

Think you know Santa? Think again. Discover what Santa was like when he was young and the events that helped him become the jolly man we like so much!

Santa wasn’t always a jolly old fellow. He was young and made plenty of mistakes too. But most have forgotten this part of his life, the part that explains so much. Few have heard the story of how Santa changed. 

This story explains many of the familiar things we associate with Santa Claus and Christmas, such as: Why does Santa use reindeer to pull his sleigh? Why do elves help him make toys? Why does Santa have a white beard? Why does he walk with jolly and cheer? 

Mrs. Claus is not left out either. If readers pay close attention, they will discover some of the strategies that helped her become the most famous baker in history. This book contains timeless lessons for both children and adults. It’s a holiday story that loved ones will want to read year after year.


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

This is a gorgeously illustrated story with several fantastic and meaningful messages that while understated will definitely resonate with children. Told in rhyme, the story draws inspiration from the classic THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and with the vivid artwork sharing the stage, the connections continue. While there is a traditional and nostalgic feel to the book as a whole, discovering how Santa was not always the man we have come to associate him as, was incredibly fresh and intriguing. 

The simplicity of the text paired with the vibrancy of the illustrations works incredibly well to capture this heartwarming story. I absolutely adored its gentle way of expressing to children the aging process:  Santa’s beard wasn’t always “as white as the snow” and his belly didn’t always shake like a “bowlful of jelly.” As charmed as children will be to learn that Santa was in fact once young, I can’t help but feel that they will be utterly captivated by pictures of their own grandparents as well as the stories from their youth. 

Not that you won’t be enchanted by the illustrations enough already, but they do tell the story of how Mrs. Clause perfected the Christmas cookie. A fantastic addition would have been to provide this coveted recipe so that all of our little elves could have tried their hands at it as well!

Overall, this will certainly make a fantastic addition to your holiday library as well as having readers of all ages believing in the magic of Christmas all over again!


Previously a junior high school teacher, Karl Steam is now the author of the Kids vs. Nature Series. Other works include PURPLE PUP and BEAR WOKE UP. He lives in the Upper Midwest with his wife and four children.

You can connect with him on:

Many thanks to Karl for the opportunity to read and review this book! It was an absolute pleasure!

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