Only YOU Can Save Christmas!: A Help-the-Elf Adventure

illus. by Garth Bruner. 32p. Sourcebooks. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492641360.
PreS-Gr 2—It's the day before Christmas, and head elf Wink Silverbells is thrown into a panic when he discovers what he thinks is a list of presents that Santa wants to give his wife. Wink begins gathering the gifts, starting with a partridge in a pear tree, and occasionally improvising, as with five donuts standing in for five golden rings. Wink addresses readers directly with directions to yodel or dance in order to attract the appropriate items on the list. Wink gathers everything, only to be told gently by Santa that this is in fact a song, not a gift list. Wink seems satisfied, but readers may feel a sense of forced jollity as they are exhorted to keep partying with the dancing ladies and leaping lords. Cartoon illustrations and speech bubbles against a white background depict a host of North Pole and Christmas carol denizens, only a very few of whom are people of color.
VERDICT This book—like the elf—tries too hard to drum up enthusiasm, with lackluster results.

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