When I was a kid, while all of the other tots were lying in bed listening to the poetic verses of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, I was busy learning about the other guy that flies around on Christmas night. You know, the one that looks a lot like Santa, who brings rotten eggs and dangerous weather guns instead of presents to all of the girls and boys. Dean Koontz's Santa's Twin tells the tale of an fat man on a rampage, a naughty elf who locked up his twin brother to steal his thunder. It is Santa's evil twin, and he's out to ruin Christmas.
Koontz's picture book is locked in rhyme like the traditional Christmas story of old, but the tale is turned upside down. Instead of gifts and bicycles and video game consoles (please, Santa, XBOX One or PS4 for me this year!), Santa's twin brings tons of terrible things to the houses he targets. They're not reserved for the naughty, either; even the nice kids get the worst presents, and they get their houses wrecked too!
Santa's Twin is a lot of fun for the younger crowd, especially if they show an interest in horror. If they enjoy Goosebumps, they'll surely love the rhyme scheme and the great illustrations from Phil Parks - and once they've completed the story and Christmas has been set right, they can search for the hidden snowmen on every page.
And if you're older with children, Santa's Twin is the perfect way to bridge the gap between horror and Christmas. It's a great way to spend a Christmas night with the kids by the fire and tree, exploring the magical way Santa can fix Christmas in a jiffy. Not too scary, but just right.