Tell me about Stories Where Kid/Animal/Person Visits The North Pole
May 28, 2020 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me about any book/story/movie of which you're aware in which a person/animal/whatever visits the North Pole / Santa's workshop. Given that current conditions make library acquisition difficult, I'd be grateful if in addition to listing the book you could tell me a little about it.

Things I'd be particularly interested in knowing about each book: Why did the kid go/get to go (if there's a reason beyond "because magic")? How did they get there? Was there a guide of some sort? What did they see there? What did they do there? If there is a mission/quest angle, what was it?

I'm primarily interested in picture books, not chapter books, but if there's a dead-on-the-top chapter book I should know about, then why not? Also movies or the like, I suppose.

Part of my continuing series of AskMe questions on children's book tropes. It's time to start thinking about my son's Christmas gift book!
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
Olive the Other Reindeer goes to the North Pole. Here’s a synopsis from Google books “ Olive is merrily preparing for Christmas when suddenly she realizes "Olive... the other Reindeer... I thought I was a dog. Hmmm, I must be a Reindeer!" So she quickly hops aboard the polar express and heads to the North Pole. And while Santa and the other reindeer are a bit surprised that a dog wants to join the their team, in the end Olive and her unusual reindeer skills are just what Santa and his veteran reindeer team need. Colorful graphic illustrations accompany this zany dog story from the well-known author and artist team, Vivian and J.otto Seibold. Adorable Olive and her hilarious adventures are sure to make anyone's Christmas merry.”
posted by artychoke at 3:58 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]

The Snowman, TV film version (the book apparently doesn't include the Santa visit). A boy builds a snowman which comes to life; they become friends; they fly (snowmen can fly!) to the North Pole and join a snowperson party with Father Christmas. The action takes place over the course of one night so all they do at the North Pole is attend the party, though there are hijinks beforehand (exploration of the boy's house; a motorcycle ride). The boy brings back a gift. I don't there's a reason the boy gets to go other than that he's become friends with the snowman.
posted by magicbus at 4:03 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]

Edith Nesbit's "The Ice Dragon; Or, Do as You Are Told" (full text) is about a boy and girl who visit the North Pole, have a perilous encounter with a dragon and some creepy sealskin creatures, and are saved by various arctic animals they've helped along the way. It's beautifully written, very funny and has a sci-fi-style commitment to internal logic that's rare in children's lit.

It's mostly published as part of a collection of Nesbit's dragon stories, but there appears to have been a solo illustrated edition a few years back, available through various used booksellers.
posted by Bardolph at 4:24 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]

It may be worthwhile to read the Santa Claus page on TVTropes. Keep in mind that the site, despite its name, incorporates nearly all media forms, including (children's) literature.

... and almost certainly not what you're thinking of, but in Bill Murray's Scrooged, one of their television specials is terrorists attacking the North Pole and being defended by "Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Man!". For some reason, the bizarre half-grin face Lee gives Santa after he says, "And Lee, you've been a real good boy this year!" will always stick in my memory ...
posted by WCityMike at 4:42 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]

Auntie Claus, by Elise Primavera. Sophie and her brother wonder about their odd, sophisticated aunt who lives in a hotel and leaves her Christmas tree up all year and serves Christmas cookies in July. Finally Sophie wonders about her aunt's mysterious business trip every December, and she stows away to solve the mystery. There are also sequels, but I've never read them.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:36 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a classic in this genre, and there was even a movie made a few years ago (2004). It's been a long time since I've read it, but the illustrations are gorgeous and transit is via a train and involves a friendly conductor. I think there's some sort of mission angle where the kid find a bell that fell from a reindeer harness and that kicks off the adventure.
posted by A Blue Moon at 5:37 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]

Elf (the movie) is about a baby crawling into Santa’s sack at the orphanage and growing up at the North Pole. Eventually he finds out he is a human and goes to New York to find his dad.
posted by wearyaswater at 7:40 PM on May 28

I know you'd like first-hand accounts of books,but if you'd like to poke around yourself at a lot of books about the North Polea nd don't mind a somewhat vexing search interface, the National Emergency Library at the internet archive has many many books about the North Pole that you can borrow and quickbrowse. That's just a basic search but you can get an idea of what is there. They also have a way to access resources by reading level at the top of the page. A few that stood out to me

- Harold at the North Pole
- Dinosaur's Christmas
- Christopher Robin Leads and Expedition
- Priscilla and the Great Santa Search
posted by jessamyn at 7:55 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]

Would you accept the South Pole? Oliver Jeffers's picture book Lost and Found is a touching story about a boy and a penguin. Sorry, I don't have it here, but as far as I remember -

Why did the kid go/get to go? (and also the mission / quest)
To help the penguin go home.
How did they get there?
By boat.
Was there a guide of some sort?
The penguin.
posted by paduasoy at 12:25 AM on May 29

Santa Calls, William Joyce. An utterly charming adventure following a brother and sister's trip to the pole, in radio-style western story telling. A picture book. Art is reminiscent of NC Wyeth illustration, but...lighter and more cheerful. A softer, less contrasty pallette. Really a pleasure to read aloud, as are all great childrens' stories. Ends with a killer surprise reveal.

Ask for more detail, if you wish. But, I believe it is deeply rewarding to hear as it unfolds for the first time.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:52 AM on May 29

The old kids' live-action movie Santa Claus Conquers the Martians sends a pair of siblings to the North Pole to…protect Santa from the Martian invaders? or something. I don't remember how they got there, but they did spend some time on that set, and I'm pretty sure there was an action sequence.

The film's casting of Santa was pretty excellent but it's otherwise tedious and inept enough to have made the Mystery Science Theater 3000 roster.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:17 PM on May 29

The Sheep that Saved Christmas! Jason Page and Adrian Reynolds

Why did the kid go/get to go?
Cynthia the Sheep was super into Christmas, starting January with "359 days to go!" and her sheepy colleagues finally chip in to get her a ticket to the North Pole.

How did they get there?
On the plane

Was there a guide of some sort?
No guide.

What did they see there?
Santa's workshop

What did they do there?
Attempted to help make Christmas happen, but hooves are no good for wrapping presents etc.

If there is a mission/quest angle, what was it?
No mission as such, but when Santa loses his beard in a fire-related accident, Cynthia saves Christmas by donating her wool to make a new beard, and gets a Christmas jumper as a reward, as well as saving her favourite holiday.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:30 PM on May 29

Couple of movies -
Rise of the Guardians (2012), which was based on William Joyce's "The Guardians of Childhood" series (chapter books)--Jack Frost, a trickster spirit, is inducted into the group of Guardians to help protect children from Pitch, the nighmare-bringer. In the movie, Jack has a conversation with Santa Claus about Santa's true purpose.

Klaus (2019), Netflix original; no book version I could find--a lazy, over-entitled postman gets stuck with his first Real Job: go to this remote village waaaay in the cold northlands, and don't come back until you've actually delivered a huge swarm of mail. One of the villagers is a reclusive toymaker named Klaus. Origin story for Santa.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:06 PM on May 29

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