Tales of friendship and magic fill the shelves this winter.
Pig the Elf
By Aaron Blabey
Best for: Ages 3-5
Pig the Pug is back. This unruly and greedy dog is excited about Christmas. In fact, he has written Santa a letter with a very long list of items he wants. But when Santa arrives and leaves only a small stack of gifts, Pig gets testy. He nips at Santa all the way up the chimney. Blabey does an excellent job engaging readers with clever rhyming and illustrations that overflow with personality. As much fun as Pig’s escapades are, they also set a poor behavior example for little ones. Pug is ill-behaved and unrepentant to the end. Plus, Pig never really receives a punishment for his actions.
What’s good: Engaging illustrations wonderful rhyming.
What’s bad: Some children may get the wrong message about behavior.
By Caleb Zane Huett
Best for: Ages 8-12
What would happen if becoming the next Santa Claus were like a reality TV show competition? As the title suggests, this is a cut-throat competition against other elves—and even Santa’s four children. This tale follows best friends Ollie Gnome and Cecilia Pixie as they compete in Santa-themed events. Just imagine trying to eat more than 100 cookies with milk. Friendship is at the heart of this book. The competitions are fun and engaging, but the relationship between our two heroes is why children will want to keep reading.
This book will be fun to read as a family this holiday season. It has enough action and twists to keep older kids interested, yet it is light and full of puns. You’ll be smiling—or at least grinning.
Whats good: A fun way to get geared up for Santa’s big night.
What’s bad: Too many conversational asides.
By Martha Brockenbrough
Illustrated by Lee White
Best for: Ages 8-13
Most people are familiar with Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus. Now parents should become familiar with Love, Santa. Before you even open this book, the wrap indicates what is inside: “When you are ready to share the beautiful truth about Santa.” Upon opening the book, we meet 5-year-old Lucy as she writes a letter to Santa. Time after time, Lucy writes to Santa, and Santa delivers wonderful presents on Christmas morning. When Lucy is 8, she writes a different letter. This time, it is to her mom. The response is what Brockenbrough wrote to her own daughter in real life. Together, they posted the letter online the next year. Then, the New York Times picked the Santa Claus letter up and ran it. Now, we get to see this story accompanied by White’s heartfelt illustrations.
What’s good: A good book for a tricky subject.
What’s bad: Just be sure you’re ready to share.