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Very young children learn faster from picture books that contain colour photographs than from books with colour drawin... More

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Author: Phyllis Porter Turner

Illustrator: Eva Manette Porter

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: 21st Century Classics Publishing House,

Material: hard cover

Summary: While you are still getting ready for a big turkey dinner, the elves at the North Pole are busy getting ready for Christmas. They have finished their work making toys, and now they get to spend a few weeks with the children, hoping they stay on Santa's good list. Then, when Santa comes on Christmas Eve, they return to the North Pole. This holiday story creates a tradition around the elves, and comes with a CD that has songs and a reading.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 9; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 3 to 8

Reading Level: 4.6

Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter saw this as a behind-the-scenes look at what Charley, her Elf on the Shelf does when he is not here.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a different twist on the idea that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, magic elves are here to watch over the kids and tell Santa which list they should be on. The author includes some background information about how the tradition started in her family, and does a nice job transitioning from a personal story (that doesn't rhyme) to a twist on Clement C. Moore's A Visit from St. Nick, complete with rhyme. The book is brightly colored and well-sized for young hands that want to explore the detailed illustrations. The memory pages make a nice touch.

Pros: The familiar sounding text and brightly colored illustrations will engage young children in this story about Christmas magic. By hiding elves in the images, kids have the opportunity to "play" with the book, too.

Cons: The book comes with a CD that is supposed to have the lyrics. The one we received didn't work.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a fun story that kids will love to have year after year.


Educational Themes: This is a story meant for sharing together. There are activities you can replicate or traditions you can create for yourself to make the reading meaningful for your family.

Notes: The Reading Tub® received a copy of this book at Book Expo America 2009.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, fantasy, Thanksgiving, Christmas

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2009

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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