The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

by Sherri Duskey Rinker (Author) Jake Parker (Illustrator)

The 12 Sleighs of Christmas
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
When the elves discover that Santa's sleigh is in a terrible state, they let their imaginations go wild--and soon there are sleighs of every kind, inspired by big rigs, motorcycles, zeppelins, and much more! 

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Publishers Weekly

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.

School Library Journal

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 Library

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Wildly imaginative."-Kirkus Reviews
Sherri Duskey Rinker
Sherri Duskey Rinker is the author of #1 New York Times bestsellers Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site; Steam Train, Dream Train; and Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, and The 12 Sleighs of Christmas. She loves cooking, gardening, and old oil paintings. Sherri lives with her photographer husband, two sons, one dog, and one hedgehog in the Chicago area. Find out more about her at

A recipient of the NAACP Image Award, AG Ford has illustrated many award-winning books for children including Goal! by Mina Javaherbin and the New York Times bestseller Barack by Jonah Winter. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Chronicle Books
Publication date
October 20, 2017
BISAC categories
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
JUV041000 - Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | General
JUV017010 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Christmas & Advent
Library of Congress categories
Stories in rhyme
Christmas stories
Santa Claus

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