books, Kids/Baby, Reviews/Giveaways

Santa’s Dog by JoAnn Sky Children’s Book Review

Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky

Santa’s Dog by JoAnn Sky is truly a wonderful story. Even though it’s a children’s book, it filled my eyes with tears. Not because it was sad but because it is a heartwarming and heartfelt story between a dog and his family. Santa’s Dog is the first book in a series of two really great children’s books. The second book in the series which is coming this month, is Carol’s Quest for Courage. Each book in the series features one of Santa’s Dog’s who find their forever home while tackling issues that children may experience. There is also a third book written by the same author titled Second Chance Sam, King of the Junkyard. However, Second Chance Sam is a stand alone book.

About the Author

“JoAnn Sky is an award winning author and two time Golden Heart finalist who writes children’s stories as well as young adult and adult contemporary romance. She’s combined her love of books and dogs in her children’s books. She hopes you enjoy reading them as mush as she has enjoyed creating them. Originally from the Midwest, JoAnn currently lives in northern Nevada with her family and three crazy rescue dogs.

Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky

About the Story

At the North Pole, Santa has all his reindeer and lots of dogs. A hundred to be exact. The dogs and reindeer play together. He loves all his dogs but there is one dog, Lance that sleeps in his bed and even rides in his sleigh with him every Christmas Eve. One Christmas Eve, Lance fell out of the sleigh. It was a really windy night. Once lance got into the little town, he was picked up and brought to the town’s shelter.

It was a short night and Santa had a long list. Knowing that Lance would understood, he decided to go back and get him when he was done after he knew he was safe. When Santa came back, the shelter was closed since it was Christmas Day. The next day, a military family arrived at the shelter to find a dog to bring home. Dad was deploying so the family wanted a dog to help while he was away.

Lance played with the kids and kept nightmares away at night. He kept Mom calm when she heard strange noises at night. Lance became part of the family. He belonged. But when Christmas Eve arrived the following year, he waited for Santa and planned to go home. But when Santa arrived, he had a decision to make. Santa told him he watched him over the year. He saw how good he was for the family. Lance looked around the house and saw the photos of himself with the family. Saw his name everywhere. He knew he belonged. But he also belonged with Santa. So what will Lance decide?

Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky

The Story Behind the Story

JoAnn Sky adopted her dog, Sampson when he was about three years old. She brought him home from a kill-shelter only hours before he was scheduled to be put down. Her husband was deployed to Iraq and she really needed a friend. Sampson became her companion. And when her husband came home, Sampson was there to welcome him home.

At one point in time JoAnn thought that Sampson might have had problems hearing because sometimes she would have to call for him several times. The vet told her his hearing was fine and that “selective hearing” was typical of “northern” breeds. Sampson was part Husky. She told her husband what the vet said and he replied, “Northern dog? Maybe he’s Santa’s dog and got lost from the North Pole!”

Years later after Sampson passed away, she and her husband was talking through a story about a dog that fell from Santa’s sleigh while remembering Sampson. A dog that later came to live with a military family while Dad was deployed who had to choose to go back with Santa or stay with his new family. Then they toasted Sampson, pretty sure that he would have chosen to stay with them if he had to make that tough choice.

Sounds so similar!

I knew I had to include the story behind story of Santa’s Dog because I can relate. When my husband was in the Marine Corps., I was pretty lonely myself. We lived so far from any of our family that we only saw them once or twice a month when we were able to visit. One weekend when we were visiting, my brother had brought home some puppies that he found on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He couldn’t just leave them there.

My husband and I decided to take one home with us. We originally named him Bear. He was a Chow and German Shepard mix. The name Bear made sense. His named changed to Buddy though because he very quickly became my Buddy. Thankfully we got lucky and my husband never deployed but his job kept him away from home a lot. There were a lot of really late nights. JoAnn’s story behind the story reminded me a lot of Buddy. I really miss that dog.

Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky

Story Format and Illustrations

I absolutely love the story format of Santa’s Dog. It’s a rhyming format which I just love for children books. It makes stories so much easier for younger kids to follow along, I think. The story flows really well too. The other reason I love a rhyming format is because (at least in our experience), it makes the story easy to remember and fun to listen to when it’s read aloud. It’s also a great book for kids who are learning to read on their own.

The illustrations are full page illustrations. I love books like that. They give a clear indication of what is going on in the story. And the pictures are absolutely adorable! There is a little information about the Illustrator below.

About the Illustrator

“Santa’s Dog is illustrated by Ed Koehler. Ed Koehler is an illustrator specializing in fun, lively art for children’s books and other products. His work has been published around the world and has received numerous awards. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the St. Louis Artists Guild.

Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky

Final Thoughts…

We absolutely love Santa’s Dog! I thought it was a wonderful book. A true delight to read with my kids. My kids loved it as well. I thought the story was beautiful, heartwarming and very touching. And dogs are amazing. There is nothing quite like the love of a dog or for a dog. They really are a special part of our families. 

Buy It: be sure to check out Dogs & Books online. They give a portion of their book sales to charities that support animal rescue causes and shelter animals! You can currently order Santa’s Dog and Second Chance Sam. Carol’s Quest for Courage will be available at the end of the month (October 2019)! Keep an eye out for my reviews of the other two books mentioned in this post!

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram


Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post. However, I received free product mentioned in this post from the book publisher for my use and review.  All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway or collaboration with DustinNikki Mommy of Three, please email Nicole Anderson at danderson35 (at) columbus (dot) rr (dot) com.


Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky
Santa's Dog by JoAnn Sky
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Nicole Anderson

My name is Nicole and I write DustinNikki Mommy of Three. I enjoy writing product reviews and hosting giveaways. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 20 years and we have three kids. When I am not terribly busy running someone to band or soccer practices, I find some time to write. I also like to write about my kids, family and life. My family enjoys the outdoors - hiking, canoeing, and exploring things we haven't seen or been before. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog!
View all posts by Nicole Anderson →