Ian, Ceo, North Pole by Eric Dana Hansen

Ian, Ceo, North Pole is an educational read for young kids, especially those entering the world of chapter books. It is a holiday story that centers around a main character named Ian, who is an elf for Santa at the North Pole. Ian is very smart, but also unsure of himself because he has not found a true calling when it comes to working for Santa. At the beginning of the story he is getting switched between departments. It is while working in the shipping department, Ian discovers he has a knack for research and dives into learning more about Santa Claus’s background. Ian becomes aware of how different countries approach and celebrate the holiday season.

ianceoThe author does a good job of keeping the story basic for young readers, while also dropping in a lot of background knowledge regarding the history and cultural practices surrounding how people celebrate the upcoming arrival of Santa Claus. Ian enjoys his work in the shipping department, and quickly gets tapped to enroll in a special class, called the Cultural Studies Support Group, that involves public speaking, research methods, and meeting new elves.

While Ian is nervous to enroll in the class, he realizes through his job in shipping and from some advice from friends and co-workers that the Cultural Studies Support Group could be a great thing for him. He is apprehensive, but also excited about the opportunity. Making speeches is a big prerequisite to being in this class, and many pages are spent showing how Ian prepares to speak in public and take research notes. These parts in the story also lead to some interesting historical information regarding past and present day navigation systems.

Throughout his studies and participation in this class, Ian meets a fellow elf named Elise. They become friends and she further boosts his confidence. Before long, the special class series is proving to be a life-changing opportunity for Ian. The story ends with an exciting Christmas Eve where Ian has the chance to showcase his intelligence, and put all of his hard work and research to good use.

Strong readers in elementary school should be able to handle this book on their own. It would also make for a great family read in the weeks leading up to Christmas, as there are many interesting facts mixed within this fictional story of Ian the elf and all of the North Pole happenings, which include Mrs. Claus, Santa, Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer.

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