The first carving book I purchased was "Carving Santas by Ron Ransom. Cobb life magazine has done an article on Ron and I have added the link below. If you carve santas you have probably seen Ron's books. They are perfect for beginner carvers because they are fairly simple to carve. To this day I still pick up on
his books (I have at least 6 or 7) and carve one that I have not done before.
Have a look at the article and I have several of his style carvings in my gallery.