Official Review: Ian, CEO, North Pole by Eric Dana Hansen

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Official Review: Ian, CEO, North Pole by Eric Dana Hansen

Post by bookowlie »

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Ian, CEO, North Pole" by Eric Dana Hansen.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be part of Santa Claus’ massive North Pole operation? Ian, CEO, North Pole by Eric Dana Hansen explores this concept. It is a novel in the Young Adult Fiction genre. Ian, an elf, has worked for Santa for many years, but can’t seem to find the right fit among the various functions. He keeps getting transferred whether he or his supervisors make the request. A daydreamer, Ian still cares about doing a good job.

When Ian gets to the Shipping Department, he thinks he has found his niche. In order to do a better job, he researches information about holiday celebrations, as well as the history of Santa Claus and how he is viewed around the world. His close friend Samuel is always available to give advice and answer questions along the way. He even joins the Cultural Studies Support Group, where elves share information they’ve learned. At his first meeting, the teacher informs Ian and several other elves that they have been singled out to become management trainees.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story isn’t too cute or silly, given the subject matter. The plot and details are realistic, at least from the vantage point of a workplace setting. Of course, an employee would want to learn extra information when transferring to a new unit. It’s also natural that Ian would turn to his close friend Samuel for advice. The cultural information about different countries fits well within the storyline. A particular standout is “Ian’s List”, a personal list he compiles of little known facts about Christmas around the world. This book would be a great choice for a class book report or presentation, due to the interesting facts about holiday celebrations and the history of Christmas.

The vivid descriptions of the North Pole and Santa’s well-oiled “machine” give the reader a good sense of the Toy Factory environment. The businesslike atmosphere makes the story seem realistic vs. being a cute, goofy story about Santa’s elves. I particularly liked reading about Ian researching the ways that Christmas is celebrated in different countries. In Sweden, for example, a gnome named “Juletomtem” brings gifts in a sleigh driven by goats.

Ian is a loveable, layered character; he is an earnest, slightly nerdy sort who worries about doing a good job. Samuel and Elise, another management trainee, are also interesting characters who provide suggestions and moral support. Samuel is utilized well as a plot device to explain key “facts”, such as the path Santa takes around the world on Christmas Eve. I like that Ian uses the internet to find information; this shows young readers that the internet is a great research tool. My favorite tidbit Ian discovers is that Charles Dickens considered Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam before choosing the name for Tiny Tim’s character in A Christmas Carol.

The book is by no means a page turner. The factual information slows the pacing at times, but the trivia was so interesting I didn’t mind the slowdown.

The author's easy to understand writing style is appropriate for children and teens. The book is categorized in the Young Adult genre, but I question whether teenagers would be interested in a book about elves. It’s more suitable for children ages 5-12; parents could read the book aloud to younger children. The emphasis on positive work values reinforces to children that it’s good to have a strong work ethic.

There are several grammatical errors through the book, including typos (“infirm” vs. “inform”), incorrect word usage (“there daughter” vs. “their daughter”), missing or extra commas, and missing words (“a”). The errors, while noticeable, were not a major distraction.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a quirky, office-centered plot, although I think children and younger teens are the target audience. The story is unique and Ian is a very likeable, relatable character. Did I just say a character in a Santa’s Toy Factory story is relatable? That just goes to show you what a good writer the author is. I became so absorbed in the story that it seemed like Santa’s elves were regular employees in an office. I wonder if I should get my head examined.

******
Ian, CEO, North Pole
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Post by imeric88 »

Thanks for your review. I appreciate the many comments - very helpful.
I recently wrote a screenplay based on the book. Humanized the elves and clicked up the age range to YA. Knocking on Hollywood doors is challenging....

Thanks again!

Eric
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Post by bookowlie »

You're welcome. The story was a joy to read! It had just the right amount of heart without being too cute or silly. Good luck with the screenplay. Ben Affeck and Matt Damon started out with one screenplay, Good Will Hunting, and won an Oscar for best screenplay.
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Post by gali »

Thank you for the well written review. I am glad you enjoyed the book. :)

Good luck to the author with the screenplay and all. 8)
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Post by bookowlie »

Thanks Gali! The book is worth reading for the trivia alone. :) The great plot and likeable characters are just a bonus!
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Post by zeldas_lullaby »

Great review! What a great book this must be. I normally hate the whole Christmas in July concept, but just reading this review actually put me in the Christmas spirit. No kidding. I'm suddenly thinking about gumdrops and gingerbread houses and stockings hung with care. How festive.
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Post by Levi »

Fantastic review, as always, Owlie. This sounds like a very interesting concept, and it also sounds like the author did a great job making the concept real. It's hard to make a storey like that sound relatable to so many age ranges, but you did that in this review, Owlie. I think I would even enjoy it! Well done, Owlie, and thank you to imeric88 for participating!
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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko »

It's it chilly, or is the awesome cover of that book? Book sounds fun. Like the concept. Like the review. Great work bookowlie!
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Post by bookowlie »

zeldas_lullaby wrote:Great review! What a great book this must be. I normally hate the whole Christmas in July concept, but just reading this review actually put me in the Christmas spirit. No kidding. I'm suddenly thinking about gumdrops and gingerbread houses and stockings hung with care. How festive.
Thanks! It's funny that you mentioned Christmas in July. That crossed my mind while reading.

-- 30 Jul 2015, 11:40 --

Thanks Leon and Escapeartist. Leon, I actually thought the cover didn't do the book justice, although it was cute. Escapeartist, I think anyone would enjoy this story!
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Post by NadineTimes10 »

bookowlie wrote:
zeldas_lullaby wrote:Great review! What a great book this must be. I normally hate the whole Christmas in July concept, but just reading this review actually put me in the Christmas spirit. No kidding. I'm suddenly thinking about gumdrops and gingerbread houses and stockings hung with care. How festive.
Thanks! It's funny that you mentioned Christmas in July. That crossed my mind while reading.
Ditto to the Christmas in July feeling. I love Christmas at any time of the year--except when people leave their Christmas lights up past January. That just feels like overkill. :D

I love stories that take the opportunity to shed light on historical or international aspects of Christmas I've not heard of, as well as stories that invent fun stuff about Santa Claus. Sounds like this book might be about as interesting as the movie The Santa Clause (1994), a great and inventive movie if I ever saw one. Nice review!
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Post by zeldas_lullaby »

Oh, that is a cute movie! I haven't seen it in a long time.

Yeah, Christmas is fun. I hope the author gets this book turned into a movie. Wouldn't that rock?

Does anyone want some nog?
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Post by bookowlie »

NadineTimes10 wrote:
bookowlie wrote:
zeldas_lullaby wrote:Great review! What a great book this must be. I normally hate the whole Christmas in July concept, but just reading this review actually put me in the Christmas spirit. No kidding. I'm suddenly thinking about gumdrops and gingerbread houses and stockings hung with care. How festive.
Thanks! It's funny that you mentioned Christmas in July. That crossed my mind while reading.
Ditto to the Christmas in July feeling. I love Christmas at any time of the year--except when people leave their Christmas lights up past January. That just feels like overkill. :D

I love stories that take the opportunity to shed light on historical or international aspects of Christmas I've not heard of, as well as stories that invent fun stuff about Santa Claus. Sounds like this book might be about as interesting as the movie The Santa Clause (1994), a great and inventive movie if I ever saw one. Nice review!
Thanks Nadine. I love The Santa Clause movie! Elf with Will Ferrell is also a favorite in our house. As for the fun trivia about Santa Claus, are you trying to say it was made up? Ha ha ha :lol: :lol:

Meg, It would be so much fun if this book was turned into a movie!
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Post by zeldas_lullaby »

HA HA HA!! Made up?? Santa?? Wha-a-a-a-t??

I'd go see it! Who doesn't love a cute Christmas movie?!

To BookOwlie, the author, or anyone else who's read this book, who would you cast in it?
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Post by bookowlie »

zeldas_lullaby wrote:HA HA HA!! Made up?? Santa?? Wha-a-a-a-t??

I'd go see it! Who doesn't love a cute Christmas movie?!

To BookOwlie, the author, or anyone else who's read this book, who would you cast in it?
My first choice would be....Jonah Hill. My other choice would be Nicholas Hoult, who had been in the movie About a Boy when he was younger. He just looks like the studious type. :)
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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko »

Man, I don't think I ever saw The Santa Clause. Or maybe I did and I just don't remember. Oh well, guess I'll stick to Mark Wahlberg and Ted.
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