Ever wonder who Santa was before he was Santa? He was a bandit, talented no doubt, but a thief and treasure hunter nonetheless. Nicholas St. North was his name, and he was only concerned about himself until the fateful day he ended up in the village of Santoff Claussen. He expected to find treasure, but instead he found a village terrorized by Pitch, an ancient evil, and his Fearlings, rulers of the night, bringers of nightmares.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce and Laura Geringer tells how Nicholas grew from being a self-centered man to the caring, magical person who will one day be Santa. We follow him and his mentor, a great wizard, and a young girl named Katherine as they fight to protect the children of the world.

I read this one aloud with Amber (11) during December. She made sure to tell me that if I review it to say she liked it, and she really did. It sparked her imagination. She was drawing characters from it and making up new beings that would fit in the story. It’s a magical story, meant for kids. After finishing it, she immediately asked if there is a sequel, but we’ll have to wait until probably March to read it.

As an adult, I enjoyed it. I could complain that maybe some of the characters were underdeveloped, that the grand quest was a little slow to materialize, that it’s kind of odd that the adults were the stars in this middle school book, but it honestly doesn’t matter. It was an enchanting story, and just the right length.There was adventure, spells, a mechanical djinni, a mysterious spectral boy, and, of course, flying reindeer. A great seasonal read.

4 out of 5 stars

Category: Middle School – Fantasy

Website | Amazon | IndieBound

Guardians of Childhood #1
Published October 4, 2011 by Atheneum
228 pages

Book source: Purchased

Guardians of Childhood Series

  1. Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King
  2. E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core (coming February 21, 2012)


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