In the same spirit as Baby Einstein's Poems for Little Ones, Baby Santa's Christmas Joy puts playful poetry alongside large pictures of brightly colored, easy-to-recognize scenes--perfect for small eyes and short attention spans. And in keeping with Baby Einstein's multisensory approach, Christmas Joy also includes a 23-track audio CD of Christmas classics.
Both the book and the CD prove to be a mixed bag. The excerpts include quite a few carols ("We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Jingle Bells") along with short pieces from E.E. Cummings, Thomas Buchanan Reed, and others. But each page appears as if it's been printed on the same piece of holiday letterhead, and that repetition can only be a missed opportunity for a book that sets out to engage visually. That said, the big, colorful photographs should be a hit, featuring wintry scenes like snow-covered holly and the proverbial one-horse open sleigh.
Parents already tolerant of kiddified music should be pleased with the CD's selections. A smattering of classical (Mozart, Bach, and Handel) accompanies a dozen traditional carols and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. But be warned: even the most unfrayable holiday nerves might not respond well to the "Twelve Days of Christmas" on marimba. (Baby to age 3) --Paul Hughes