Lisa Doucet Reviews Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo

Playful, Quirky Lyrics & Art Capture Musical Ecstasy


Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo
David Myles, illustrated by Murray Bain
Nimbus Publishing
(Ages4-8)

Beloved songsmith and entertainer David Myles (who originally comes from New Brunswick but now calls Halifax home) brings his upbeat Christmas ditty to the printed page in what is sure to be one of this season’s most sought-after bestsellers.The song-turned-storybook relates the melancholy tale of David’s childhood Christmases spent pining for a banjo, a gift which he never, ever receives. 

While his siblings receive the things they asked for, and despite the fact that a banjo is the only thing on his list, Santa never gets it right.  Could it be that “it’s too hard for the workshop, Maybe it’s too tricky for the elves?” Whatever the reason, poor youngDavid is simply forced to accept that: “Santa never brings me a banjo…”

This latest addition to the season’s offerings is pure, unbridled fun. Whether or not you’ve heard the song, one can’t help but hear the sweet, bluegrass-y strains as Myles repeats his lament. And the illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment: lively and bursting with energy. Not to mention banjos! 

There is simply no mistaking the object of the protagonists’s affections here. From the banjos that frame the very first page to the ones on his bedsheets and the snow banjo that young Myles makes while other children are building snowmen,this is indisputably a book about a banjo-obsessed boy

Playful and quirky, the lyrics and illustrations capture a sense of whimsy and wistfulness. Astute readers will note that Santa does, in fact, get it (and demonstrates that he has both a sense of humour and compassion for those who may not share Myles’ great passion). 

While Santa may or may not bring David Myles a banjo, he will undoubtedly be leaving copies of this delightful book under many Christmas trees this year.

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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