Book Reviews

Santa’s Dog Book Review + Spotlight: JoAnn Sky + Ed Koehler

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Christmas is in the air, and we have been reading Santa’s Dog by JoAnn Sky and Ed Koehler! It has quickly become one of our most cherished Christmas books and we would love to share with you more about it, as well as Spotlight the Author and Illustrator behind this loveable Children’s Book, SANTA’S DOG…

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight

Have you heard of Santa’s Dog by JoAnn Sky and Ed Koehler? We recently came across this endearing and beautifully illustrated story about a loveable dog, who is Santa’s best friend! It also comes with a doggy bandana, that is perfect for your family pet!

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight

With Christmas coming just around the corner, this book makes a lovely gift! Let us share this lovely story with you!

Santa’s Dog by JoAnn Sky + Ed Koehler

Lance loved Santa, and Santa loved Lance, and together Christmas Eve’s work of delivering presents to the good children of the world was a joy to do, as they had each other. But this one Christmas Eve, they ran into a little trouble, when Lance falls off the sleigh and is found by the town’s shelter!

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight

Santa is unable to retrieve him and hopes to come back for him when the holidays have ended. However, fate would have another plan for Lace, so it seemed, as a family in need of a new pet walked right in, and fell in love with him. They adopt him on the spot before Santa can return for him. This family, is in a true need for a loveable, protective dog, because their dad is leaving on deployment, and will be gone for quite some time. The children are truly saddened by having to say goodbye to their dad.

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight

Soon, Lance becomes the heart of the family, watching over them for the dad while he is away, playing with them, and brightening their days. They all feel happy and blessed to have Lance in their lives, and so glad they choose to find him at their local shelter.

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight

As Christmas comes around once more, Lance is reminded of his love for Santa, and how he misses him and all his family and friends at the North Pole. When Lance is reunited with Santa, on Christmas Eve, he must make a difficult decision to stay with his new family or go back with Santa.

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight

Santa’s Dog will bring joy to your heart, and a tear to your eye, and be a perfect addition to any family’s home library of Christmas books about Santa, dogs, and the true meaning of gift giving for this time of year.

Santa Dog Book Review + Spotlight


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Santa’s Dog FREE Learning Resources:

Teacher Lesson Plans

FREE Activity Packet for Students

Book a FREE Virtual Author Visit with JoAnn Sky



Let me introduce you to the Author of Santa’s Dog…


Author Spotlight: JoAnn Sky


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I recently sat down with JoAnn Sky to learn more about her as an Author, and what inspires her to write! She is from the Midwest and currently lives in northern Nevada with her family, and two rescue dogs. Her journey to writing began with her experience with writing for work-related projects, and she recalls that ‘one day, after a particularly tough day at work, I came home and just started writing.’  Now she is an award-winning author and two-time Golden Heart® finalist.

She says that her first book was ‘a lot of fun to write, and it became a young adult romance novel’.  JoAnne has mainly written young adult novels, but one day when her husband left on deployment, she ‘had a hard time sleeping in the two-story house’ they had just moved into, and so she decided to adopt a dog to keep herself company.

He turned out to be the best dog she ever had and she named him Samson. He was around three years old when she adopted him from the shelter and was really was laid back. Little did she know, that her new companion would be the inspiration for her next book, Santa’s Dog. 

After her husband came home she realized that Samson took a while to come to them when called, so she took him to the vet to have him checked out. JoAnn was worried there was something wrong with his hearing. It turned out to be, simply that, he is a ‘northern breed’ and this was a typical behavior of the breed. When she returned home and told her husband the news, he replied, “Northern dog? Maybe he’s Santa’s dog and got lost from the North Pole!” And the idea for this story was born!

JoAnn’s inspiration for writing comes mostly from her life experiences, and she shares that ‘the end product generally doesn’t look anything like the idea I started with’ but she rolls with the inspiration and creates wonderful, interesting stories.

She shares that her creative process begins with her making ‘very detailed outlines’, and she plots out her chapters with details of ‘at least three things that will happen in each chapter’ and she says that writers are either plotters or planners, and she is definitely a plotter, 100%.

JoAnn’s Advice to Young Writers:

Just write. Do not get discouraged. Do not overthink. Take advice, but when it comes down to it, write something that makes your heart happy.”

You can find more from JoAnn on her websiteFacebook, and Instagram, Good Reads and purchase her book here!



Let me introduce you to the Illustrator of Santa’s Dog…

Illustrator Spotlight: Ed Koehler


I recently sat down with Ed Koehler to talk about life, and where he finds inspiration for his artwork with children’s book illustrating. He is an award-winning illustrator, who specializes in fun, lively art for children’s books and other products. His work has been published around the world, and he says that he is ‘gripped by the power of story’ and is inspired by the importance of telling stories, and passing down truths to the next generation.

Ed Koehler was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, USA, and studied Fine Arts in college and in University he studied Renaissance and Reformation History as well as History of Western Architecture.

‘JoAnn Sky’s delightful story, written in rhyme, made the art direction easy’ says Koehler. He shares that the Santa we see in Santa’s Dog was inspired by the iconic-red suited Santa for Coca-Cola ads and that he wanted to bring a sense of ‘whimsy’ and fun to his illustrations. Ed feels that his artwork ‘has been inspired by an array of humorous artists and cartoonists, such as George Herriman and Jimmy Hatlo’ and it is in their humor that he also finds inspiration. He goes on to say that his ‘art doesn’t look like theirs, but their humorous sensibilities resonate’ with him to this day.

Ed Shares details into what his Creative Process with illustration is like…

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When Ed receives the art directions he likes to ‘cuddle up with some coffee and a sketchbook.’ He says ‘it all starts with scribbles called thumbnail sketches’ which he draws for the layout of the entire book. The character development comes next, which involves more ‘finished pencil sketches’ and once the characters are narrowed down he shares them with the author, designer, or editor. They then begin to collaborate on the best choice for each character. He continues to sketch out more character details for approval and then moves into adding color by use of Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Ed uses his initial drawings as the basis, and he redraws everything and paints in a method just as he would on a board or easel. Once the work is done, he sends them off as digital files!

How wonderful it is to learn the ins and outs of digital illustration, and I found this so interesting and very helpful for me and my kids as we learn to illustrate more of our own stories in our homeschool.

Ed’s Advice to the Young Artist:

Draw a lot. Study artists you like, and try to figure out what you like about their work. Look closely at the way they draw a line or shape, and how they capture a pose or personality. Go with your instinct. You know what you like, so focus on making what you like better.”

You can find more from Ed Koehler:

His websiteThe Children’s Illustrators Website, as well as FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and you can also find him on SCBI’s member website.

Thank you so much for reading our latest book review, we hope you enjoyed this one. Stay tuned for more inspired activities with Santa’s Dog, coming soon this holiday season!

Till next time,

Breathe deeply and enjoy building your masterpiece with scissors and glue and Santa’s Dog too!



If you enjoyed this post, check out one of these:

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Apple Pie Playdough Kit

The Best Fairy Books Series Review + Spotlight

Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound Book Review + Spotlight

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