REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Santa Comes To Newcastle By Steve Smallman & Robert Dunn

Published: 2014

Publisher: Lake Press

Pages: 32

Format: Hardcover

RRP: $14.99

3/5 Stars

Have You Been Good?

Are you ready to go to sleep?

Then Santa is coming to town! Read about what happens to Santa when he visits Newcastle.


This book has been THE Christmas book to get this year. Which if I’m honest, I’m not all that surprised about.

Last year we saw the talented duo Steve Smallman (Author) and Robert Dunn (Illustrator) bring Santa to Australia and Sydney in their own respective books and people went crazy for them. With Newcastle being the the second biggest city (behind Sydney) in the state it doesn’t surprise me at all that this year they brought out this particular version of the timeless classic. What does surprise me though is the content of the book.

Based on the well known Christmas carol Santa Is Coming To Town, comes Santa Is Coming To Newcastle. A hardcover Christmas story that sent Newcastle Australia crazy this year when it was released as everyone (and I mean everyone) went out searching for a copy or seven (I sold these by the box load!). Ultimately Santa Comes To Newcastle is a clever twist on the timeless carol that brings the story to life in places that children can easily recognise all around them.What I particularly loved about it was the way that it took away all the notions of a white Christmas (minus the jolly man in his red and white winter suit) and placed the timeless tale in Australia during Summer, so much so that there’s an image of people swimming at what I can only assume is Nobby’s Beach.

For a family with young children living in this area, it is a fantastic addition to their book collection and Christmas reading list. It’s simple to read and easily recognisable both in narration and location. The illustrations are bright and eye catching, with most taking up a full two page spread. For the avid reader, the thrill of reading about places you know and visit often is surprising, especially when teamed with a Christmas narrative that is usually as far as seasonally isolated and removed as it could be from Australia at this time of year. I’m not going to lie here, I raced through this book on my first reading to see where was mentioned and if I knew all the places. The joy of reading about places that you know and love is second to nothing, and I couldn’t help but smile as they “crossed [over] the Hunter Valley” and got stuck on the “Newcastle City Hall” clock tower, flew over “Fort Scratchley and the Bogey Hole [before stopping] safely in King Edward Park”.

What I found somewhat disappointing however was the blatant mass produced elements of this story. Obviously the narrative is well known, and while I understand that the book is part of a series where the authors does a quick ‘find & replace’ search to alter particular phrases, the changes to the book that are central to Newcastle Australia are minimal ( I go into this further in a comparison between a couple of the books in another post) and I somehow expected more.

Overall though it’s a great little Christmas book that families of all ages can enjoy together. It’s reasonably cheap and will entertain the kids for a while as they read all the mischief and strife Santa and his Reindeers got up to trying to find their way to your child’s house on Christmas Eve.

From Merewether to Beresfield, from Bar Beach to Tighes Hill, and all the places in between, Santa and his sleigh visited very house in Newcastle.”


As far as I’m aware this book is pretty much sold out everywhere right now, being so close to Christmas and all and with such a big supply and demand issue on going. Which is why I’m pretty happy to announce that I have one copy of Santa Is Coming to Newcastle to give away to one lucky reader.

To go into the draw to win a copy of Santa Is Coming To Newcastle simply leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite part of Christmas and its traditions that you look forward to each year? But be quick because this competition is closes at midday (12) on Thursday 18th December and is only open to Australian Residents. Winner will be notified on that same afternoon so that the book can be posted on Friday 19th.

For me personally I think its Christmas Eve. I live near the lake and each year volunteers dress up as Santa and go around on the lake giving kids lollies. The community all goes down to the park to watch Santa come and socialises and its just a fantastic time. It never feels like Christmas if we miss it.




4 thoughts on “REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Santa Comes To Newcastle By Steve Smallman & Robert Dunn

  1. Courtney says:

    My favourite part of Christmas would have to be spending time with loved ones and I always look forward to the annual family cricket match held just before a Christmas lunch feast.

  2. Ryn Hughes says:

    I love watching my children get their “Santa Plates” ready. Seeing the excitement on their faces totally makes up for the ridiculous hour they get up the next morning!

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