Wersel Meets Santa Claus
by Gloria Gurden
Illustrated by Ann Parker
Trafford Publishing

"Wersel was beside himself when he saw Santa, he was such a jolly little man in his bright red suit with his long white beard and twinkling eyes."

Wersel Driftwood lives on the seashore with his best friend, Cuthbert Crab, and Grandmother and Grandfather. Together with Cuthbert, Wersel enjoys warm days spent on the beach, tossing stones into the water. That is, until he and Cuthbert stumble upon Sally Salmon, who is trapped in a tide pool. Together, Cuthbert and Wersel free Sally. In a show of gratitude, Sally takes Cuthbert and Wersel deep into the ocean to meet her friends. This foray into deeper waters, however, leaves Wersel stranded at sea only to be whisked away by a sea plane minutes later. Unconscious throughout the impromptu flight, Wersel soon wakes up to find he is stranded at the North Pole, far from his seaside home. It will take a Christmas miracle to get Wersel Driftwood back to the shore where his friends and family await.

Given that young readers absorb the language through literature, Wersel Meets Santa Claus could have benefited from some copyediting to eliminate grammatical errors. Still, Wersel's story is filled with adventure and tribulations that are always resolved through the kindness and generosity of the various characters that people the story. Each character, from Cuthbert the Crab to Bengy the Bear, is memorable and kind, providing young readers with positive role models alongside an entertaining tale. Gurden's narrative is filled with twists and turns that will challenge young readers to wonder where Wersel's adventures will lead him next.

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