This beautiful and comic picture book stands as one of Briggs' finest achievements. A pop song in the nineties asked the famous question "What if God were on of us?" This book answers a different intriguing question - what if Santa Claus were just an ordinary bloke? In his inimitable careful style, Briggs follows Father Christmas through his ordinary routine on December 24th and 25th. Each page is a series of illustrative panels, rather like a comic book, though the artistic style is the same kind of fine color work Briggs used in "The Snowman." Many panels are silent, or else punctuated by our hero's curmudgeonly mutterings ("blooming chimneys!") Father Christmas is rudely awoken by his alarm clock on December 24th, in an ordinary semidetached home in England somewhere (this is a very British book.) He gets up, has breakfast, feeds the dog and cat, gets some presents from storage in the barn, hitches up a few deer, and is off through various kinds of weather to visit various kinds of homes, mildly complaining about his hardships the entire time. The humor of the book's tone grows on the reader as the story proceeds. At last he finishes his rounds at dawn and comes home to a most pleasant Christmas of a warm bath, a good meal, and some holiday brochures. Then we follow him up to bed. I reread this book every Christmas, with equal joy each time. It is funny in a slightly irreverent way, but it still captures the warmth and joy of a Christmas well spent. Kids may enjoy the comic book format of the story, but I think this book can be even better enjoyed by adults who can imbibe its full wit.