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Author: Sandra Jones Cropsey

Illustrator: Barbra K. Mudd

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Publisher: Wright Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Tinker wants desperately to be one of Santa's chosen elves, yet his clumsiness always seems to get in the way. Tinker perseveres and thanks to his extra work and the faith shown him by the Clauses and Father Chris, Tinker found his special place. This is a chapter book that shares the true meaning of Christmas.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 4 to 9

Age of Child: Read with child 2 years old; read again with child 3 years old.

Young Reader Reaction: S/He was immediately fascinated by Tinker and the train. This second year, s/he recognizes more about who Tinker is.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a sweet story. It may take place at the North Pole, but every child will recognize his/her world in it. Given our preschooler's age, we read it in short sittings, often starting a new session of a summary of what happened last time.

Pros: The book has an enduring quality that will last for many years. It nicely weaves traditional images/activities of Christmas with everyday life for youngsters.

Cons: We probably started reading it too soon, as the pages are quite full of words. S/he will probably be completely enrapt by age four.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! The book is so much "bigger" than Christmas. It's fun to read … especially if you love trains.


Educational Themes: With this book you don't need (or want) to talk about Christmas. Instead, you can talk about kindness, friendship, individual talents, acceptance and understanding.

Literary Categories: Fiction - Christmas, adventure, self worth, friendship

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2004

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