A Gift for Santa

This is based on a true Christmas story.

Children - Preschool
21 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A little bit about me…

My love of drawing and reading began as a young child from the time I could hold a pencil. I drew daily, bringing my notebook and pencil with me wherever I went. To this day, my tote bag always contains something to draw with, a notebook, and one or two books to read.

When my children came along, I started writing stories and drawing characters for them. I could have never imagined it, but before long my beloved hobby that created joy for my children expanded to a career illustrating for friends, and then later, authors of children’s books. Quickly, illustrating books became something that completely absorbed me. It became what I do, and how I earn my living. Now I can say I am a professional illustrator of several books for authors around the world.
Today, my two children help in the illustration creation process, advising me on what delights and excites them. They are my best critics, and my greatest inspiration.

I still love children’s books and sometimes read them just for myself. In bookstores, I can spend hours looking at illustrations and discovering new stories. When not drawing or reading, I enjoy practicing yoga and baking sweets.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers' Favorite

What a wonderful twist! I wasn’t expecting the gift that Jacob chose to give in the children’s picture book A Gift for Santa. I love the way Santa thanks him every Christmas for the gift. What would you give Santa for Christmas? I love the gift idea Jacob comes up with, but I really love how happy it makes him knowing that he gave something very special to Santa. It’s an imaginative, thought-provoking story with a twist I wouldn’t have thought of. Author Zuzana Svobodová has created a wonderful story that children—and their parents—will love. This picture book is very imaginative and should get children thinking too. Who would Santa drink a cup of hot chocolate with? Who would Santa read a bedtime story with? If you were going to make a card or gift for Santa, what would it be?

How can you resist a children’s book with big, bright eyes on the front cover? A Gift for Santa contains lovable, huggable characters that children and their parents will find adorable. Beautiful, full-color images adorn the pages, which should attract children while the story will keep their attention. Zuzana Svobodová has created beautiful artwork of people and surroundings that are well executed and realistic looking. I admire how some pages have full color in the background and others have a part of an image with a white background. This wonderful story is bound to become a seasonal classic with its thoughtful story of love and friendship with a subtle dose of giving. The main character Jacob has us all believing it's better to give than to receive. This children’s picture book may be seasonal, but I think all home libraries should have this treasured story.

Jamie Michele

A Gift for Santa by Zuzana Svobodova is the story of a little boy named Jacob who decides that Santa should receive a Christmas present also. Based on a true story, Svobodova opens the tale with Jacob in his bedroom, excited about the prospect of a fast-approaching Christmas when he begins to ponder St. Nick's giving of gifts without taking any for himself. Initially, Jacob decides to travel to the North Pole, a plan that is quickly kiboshed by his mother. After scouring a toy store and racking his brain for ideas, Jacob decides that perhaps Santa would like a friend and generously puts forward the idea of presenting Santa with a friend that means a great deal to Jacob.

Zuzana Svobodova does a wonderful job in providing a fresh twist to the genre of children's Christmas books with A Gift For Santa. Jacob is a small soul with a big heart and is the perfect character to bring the message of sharing during the most magical time of year to young readers. Svobodova is also the illustrator with art that brings the story to life in vivid color and fun detail. I did find that the text was a bit dense for a children's book, with quite a great deal more narrative on its single pages than I've seen before. This made it difficult for my daughter to read and as she's at an age where she likes to do the reading, this did lessen the experience slightly. Still, the fact that Jacob is based on the author's own son makes the book all the more special and I have little doubt that others will find enjoyment in it also.

Jack Magnus

A Gift for Santa: Based on a True Christmas Story is a holiday-themed picture book for children written and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova. Jacob loved Christmas. He enjoyed every moment he spent writing his list for Santa as well as writing lists for each member of his family, including his dog, Scamp. Jacob enjoyed giving gifts as much as getting them, maybe even more. And as he was considering that, he began to wonder about Santa. Does Santa ever get gifts? It just didn’t seem to make sense if someone who gave so much of himself didn’t get gifts as well. Jacob began considering what kinds of gifts Santa would like, and what he could give Santa this year. He finally decided to go to the North Pole and ask Santa, or at least his elves, for some help. But mom said that he’d never make it there in time. Maybe there was another way to make sure Santa got his own gift this year.

Zuzana Svobodova’s A Gift for Santa is an enchanting fable about a little boy who really gets the spirit of giving. Young readers will be inspired as they follow Jacob while he considers the best gift for Santa. Will it be something he discovers in the magical toy store his parents take him to? Svobodova’s illustrations are bright, cheerful, and perfectly designed for the holiday spirit of this book. Each panel is fun and filled with imagination. A Gift for Santa is a grand story-time selection; one which will inspire kids to appreciate the giving aspects of Christmas and, perhaps, begin their own tradition of leaving Santa something more than cookies and milk this year. Highly recommended.

Kathy Golden

Written and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova, A Gift for Santa is based on a true story. It is a moving and wonderful creation from the author that takes a real-life event and changes it into a children’s book that allows children of all ages to be as generous as Jacob, the main character. Jacob is a little boy who is genuinely preoccupied with what he could possibly do to make Santa happy. In the process of writing out his own Christmas wish list and considering the gifts he wants to give to family and friends, he is suddenly swept away with the idea of a gift for Santa Claus.

Once his desire takes root, readers are caught up in his search to find the perfect gift. Jacob brings to mind the giver who doesn’t just take the attitude that “it’s the gift that counts” as if any gift will do. Like some children, who are wise for their years, he mentally goes the full length of examining several possible gifts and then sorting through his reasons for discarding them; reasons that make readers feel like he truly wants his present to be the right one for Santa. The gift he finally decides upon could not have been a better choice, and it is one that creates a unique friendship that you’ll not want to miss.

Zuzana’s illustrations are wonderful. They are large and colorful with energy and emotions ranging from contemplative to discouraged to troubled and on up to that Aha moment that feels good to Jason and lifts his spirits. In his quest to find Santa’s gift, Jason grows as a person. He’s still a child, but his heart is much larger, as is his understanding of how giving a gift to someone with that person’s sole happiness in mind can bring the giver that same, if not greater, measure of happiness. The best achievement of Svobodova’s A Gift for Santa is to remind us that the gifts we are thinking about giving to others can really make their lives richer, so we want to take particular care in selecting them.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Zuzana Svobodova pens a wonder-filled children’s story in A Gift for Santa. Outside, the winter snowflakes float and excitedly chat among themselves, announcing, “Christmas is on its way.” Jacob sits in his room with his beloved Teddy by his side. Jacob busily writes down his gift ideas for his family, friends, and of course his dog, Scamp. When he completes his list, Jacob wonders if Santa gets gifts. Caught up in his question, Jacob sets out to find an answer. He asks his parents, his friends, and even his grandpa. But no one has an answer. Jacob begins to wonder many things about Santa. Does Santa drink cocoa? Who does Santa read stories with at bedtime? After much consideration, Jacob chooses to give a gift from his heart. Jacob decides to gift Santa with his precious Teddy bear. Jacob joyously wraps up his Teddy and places him under the tree. Elated, Jacob realizes how much fun it is to give gifts! “Everyone deserves kindness, even Santa.”

A Gift for Santa exemplifies the contagious joy of giving, proving it is more blessed to give than receive. Zuzana Svobodova writes and illustrates this delightful story of Christmas based on a question her son asked one year - “does Santa get gifts?” Although it is a bit wordy for the attention span of a preschooler, it is a fun and heartwarming children’s story. The illustrations are exceptional; they follow the story well and are colorfully captivating. The narrative includes all the familiar folklore surrounding the Santa Claus story. It is full of childhood imaginations of magical snowflakes, reindeer, elves, and the enchanting North Pole. A Gift for Santa by Zuzana Svobodova can be read year after year as the theme of heartfelt giving will never grow old. Everyone, young and old, deserves the gift of friendship and kindness. A Gift for Santa reminds us one and all - a gift from the heart is the best gift of all.