Two days ago, we received a copy of The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas and it is already a favorite in our house. The book is written by Michael Keane and illustrated by Michael Garland.
The story, an ingenious parody of the beloved poem, “Night Before Christmas,” plays upon the yearly tracking of Santa’s journey by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), viewed by millions of American children on Christmas Eve.
The heartwarming and patriotic story is sure to become a holiday classic in homes around America, especially military homes. The story is imbedded with military lingo, like “Now march away! Fly away! Sail away, all!” Fighter jets, ships, jeeps and Special Ops forces in uniform help Santa find his way. It reminds American families of the brave men and women who make it possible to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.
The book has a sweet twist where Santa gets blown off course by a storm and NORAD and America’s Armed Forces track and rescue him, saving the day for the children of America.
Whatever your religious belief, there is room for Santa in the holiday season and this book adds a delightful element to the story.
The book is written for children ages 4 and up. I read it to 8 year old Bob and nearly 5 year old Harold on the first night we had the book. We loved it so much that I suggested 12 year old Dwight read it to himself that night, and he did and really enjoyed it. The next night, Horatio read it again to Bob and they both delighted in the story again.
If I had the means, I’d buy a copy for all of my friends with school aged kids. I especially think it should be in the home of all military families to enjoy and celebrate the heroism of service members. The story, while obviously fantasy, can give military kids a concrete understanding of their parents’ jobs.
I received a complimentary copy of the book to review, but I’d have written this glowing review even if I’d purchased it myself. You can buy it on Amazon, where it gets 5 star reviews.
The Norad Background Story
On Christmas Eve, 1955, an advertisement appeared in a local Colorado newspaper with a phone number that promised to connect kids to Santa Claus. But, as fate would have it, the phone number was misprinted and, instead of Santa, the kids were connected with the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs. The Colonel on duty that night was shocked when he began receiving calls from excited kids hoping to speak to Santa. In the spirit of the holiday, he decided to have his operators track the location of Santa and report it back to all kids who called into the center that night. Thus began a tradition carried on by NORAD, which formed in 1958. Now, NORAD uses satellite systems, high powered radars and jet fighters to track Santa and his reindeer as they fly all over the world.