by Sherri Duskey Rinker (Author) Jake Parker (Illustrator)
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In this competition-minded holiday tale, Santa's elves discover that bigger and newer isn't always better. As the elves prepare to tune up Santa's sleigh for its Christmas Eve trip, they discover that it's a wreck: "The sleigh is totaled, smashed, and battered!/ The elves are rocked! They're shocked! It's shattered!" A dozen teams square off to create "the coolest sleigh," as judged by Santa himself. Though all manner of gleaming vehicles roll off the assembly line—hot rods, flying semi trucks, "aquatic, atomic, gigantic inventions"—it's the smallest elf who nails it, opting to refurbish, not reinvent. Rinker's zippy rhymes dip in and out of the elves' commentary ("'How's this for high-speed Christmas cheer?!'/ 'That reindeer thing is so last year.'"), and Parker's cartoons evoke vintage comics, mixing magic and mechanics as the elves' imaginations and talents run wild. Ages 3-5. Illustrator's agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Oct.)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 2--After discovering Santa's sleigh is in a terrible state, the elves propose having a build-off to create a new and better sleigh in the two weeks before Christmas. Santa will select the winner. The endpapers show the various sleigh designs on green graph paper as a hint to what is coming. Rhyming text introduces the building teams' final designs, including a dragster sleigh with gliders instead of wheels; a tricked-out semi-truck that flies; a floating ship with 50 sails; a blimp--hot-air balloon hybrid; a motorcycle-sleigh; and "flying saucers, trucks with wings, all sorts of clever, crazy things." On Christmas Eve, Santa is amused and proud of all the elves' inventions, but nothing seems exactly right. The smallest elf crew member knows what to do, he has secretly been working on a backup plan--surprise! Santa's sleigh, restored. The 500-year-old classic ride wins the build-off. The colorful illustrations, created in brush pen and rendered digitally, are a perfect fit for sleigh creations reminiscent of Dr. Seuss's imaginative vehicles. VERDICT A splendid choice for any holiday read-aloud collection wishing to incorporate STEM concepts.--Diane Olivo-Posner, Los Angeles Public LibraryCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.