Snatching St. Nick
Myla Taylor (author) Rachel Lawston (illustrator)
Raynen Katz (2021)
Reviewed by Grady Darrell (age 8) for Reader Views (03/2022)
“Snatching St. Nick” is a legendary book with delightful characters, an element of magic, and a lot of wonderfully naughty people. Cooper has always been an epically naughty kid, but when he strikes a bet with Dax, his adversary, things get a whole lot more… interesting. Dax is positively certain that Cooper will NEVER behave well enough to earn the awesome/legendary Zop-Em 3000, and when Cooper decides that being good isn’t worth the effort—this is Cooper we’re talking about—he begins plotting to kidnap Santa. Exactly what you would do, right? All the while, someone named Floozer is trying to turn Christmas from a time for generosity, kindness and magic, to a time of combat!!! “Snatching St. Nick” is a very entertaining book and an eccentric story that brought page after page of laughter to my body!
A few of my favorite parts are Cooper going into the girls locker room, and afterwards, the principal asking when she was eligible for retirement. Those scenes alone had me bursting out in laughter! A few more scenes that I absolutely cherished are when Cooper thrashes around screaming in his Grandpa’s apartment (a clever fake) all because Grandpa wouldn’t reveal top-secret documents. This results in Gramps feeling bad and giving Cooper the documents. There is also a scene where Floozer tells an elf kid to crawl up a fireplace—if those other spots don’t have you bursting in laughter, that one surely will!
Another fun feature of this book are the graphic details! For example, each chapter looks like it has a string of Christmas lights tangled around the chapter number.
Taylor writes very well with sentences that paint clear pictures, probably clearer than any illustration could. For example, pg 74: “It was dark and chilly. The only sounds were Peony’s bellyaching and me fumbling around in my backpack. Found it! I said. A moment later, light illuminated from my headlamp.” I can almost feel the cold, hear Peony’s bellyache and I could definitely picture the scene! However, “light illuminated from my headlamp” should be “light emanated from my headlamp.” Other than that, that paragraph was spot-on and likewise very descriptive.
I wish the author gave us a bit more information about Cooper’s dad, Alan, and his Gramps, both of whom are mentioned briefly in a few parts, but quickly disappear. Adding this would contribute to the plot of the book and would definitely add to the overall story. I think that Floozer’s thugs need more of an origin story — how Floozer met them, where they come from — because they just appear, poof!
Generally, I try to stay out of trouble, but there are a few people, schoolmates, that can get under my skin, and cause me to relate with Cooper. I recommend this book to an audience of 7-13, who have a heart for mischievous, daring, funny and magical stories.
“Snatching St. Nick” is an epic book full of adventure, mischief, cunning and… KIDNAPPING!?!?!? I loved this book for its sense of humor and adventure, and I think anyone who doesn’t like it has lost all hope! (Just kidding, ha ha!)