Saturday, December 16, 2023

Library read... Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

After all those book birthdays, I thought it was time to hit the library again and see what I can find on the holiday front. I ran across this book (published in 2003) and found the title cute. I've never heard of the series. So, the characters are going to be very new, and I really don't know what to expect. But that's the part of the fun when visiting the library—there are shelves and shelves full of surprises.

The Adventures of Bailey School Kids
by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Middle Grade Fiction

A classic Bailey School Kids adventure is back with a new cover art just in time for the holidays! The fresh look of this long-time favorite makes it the perfect gift this season.

There have always been some pretty weird grown ups in Bailey City, but the new custodian at the Bailey School is one of a kind. When he appears out of nowhere just before Christmas to help out at the school, Mr. Jolly's white hair and beard and longing for cold temperatures bring the fabled St. Nick to everyone's mind. Could this man really be Santa Claus? The Bailey School Kids are going to find out!

GOODREADS   /  And at your local library!


With school humor, a little drama, some mischief, and a dusting of Christmas magic, this read is still fun twenty years after it first hit the shelves.

There's a new janitor at the school, and the kids can't help but notice that he looks quite a bit like Santa Claus. Not that he can be. After all, Santa Claus doesn't wear shorts or clean schools. But then, there is the strange, small man that sometimes is found talking to him. In any case, that won't stop the kids from causing a bit of mischief...or maybe, it will. Some aren't ready to take the risk of possibly having Santa Claus right there and knowing when to put them on the naughty list.

This is a fun, easy read, which manages to gently wrap the wonder of Christmas into a read with middle school flair. The Bailey School kids come across naturally, although a few of them are always open to pranks and some not-so-good nonsense. Readers will enjoy the antics, and immediately suspect that none of it is really a good idea. The tension around the truth behind the janitor makes it hard to put the read down and difficult to predict whether or not he is Santa Claus. But then, this is a quick read, which doesn't lean much on descriptions and lets dialogue and action drive the plot forward. It's especially well suited to the younger end of the middle grade audience and will even draw in more reluctant readers.

While there is a bit of mischief and magic, there are also wholesome messages surrounding friendship, standing up for what you think, and kindness. 

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