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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Memoirs of an ELF, written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers. Sleeping Bear Press, 2014. $17.99 ages 5 and up

"Launch time. Santa kisses Momma Claus and waves to the other elves. I've got the GPS. Bobbin is in charge of the toy bag. And Nutshell has the Nice List.
Little-known fact: We don't even bring the Naughty List with us.

Ever wondered how technology has made Santa's Christmas Eve journey more efficient? Isn't that what all the new gadgets are supposed to be doing for us?

In this third Memoirs book, following those that tell the daily tale of both a goldfish and a hamster, we are privy to the 12 hours that it takes Santa and his elves to make their yearly run, presents in tow and technology at hand. The first entry is recorded at 9:45 on Christmas Eve and lets readers know that the countdown is on ... two hours and they 'launch'. Spark snaps an 'elfie' to show that he is as ready as he can be. His job is to keep Santa running on time, and to ensure that every corner of the earth is visited. The reindeer are chomping at the bit, a text is sent to Santa. Midnight, a hug for Mrs. Claus, and they are off!

Timed updates keep readers apprised of the route, the many little known facts to be shared and Santa's joy at the toys being delivered. It is not unusual for the elves to hurry him along when they find him playing with his favorites. With only 30 minutes left before dawn, the last gift is delivered, a carol is sung and the team heads for the North Pole, only to discover the sled has a stowaway.

"But as we're unloading the sleigh,
Bobbin says he doesn't think the toy bag is empty.
How can that be? We gave away every present on the list.
But it's not a present in the bag, and it just licked Bobbin's ear."

Oh, my! What a dilemma:

Well-known fact: Santa gives things away.
He does not take things!"

Off they go to return the puppy Tugboat to his forlorn family, making Christmas merry and bright as it can be!

Appealing expressions and humorous details in the artwork will elicit comments and delight from your young listeners. Be prepared to share it more than once.

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