2015-02-01 Book I
A holiday-themed picture book set at the North Pole. Gausselin’s debut takes readers on a journey to Santa’s workshop, where some unusually warm winter weather leads the elves to take a break from making toys to play in the snow. They don’t heed Mrs. Claus’ warning to wear their coats, though, and when the weather suddenly turns cold and snowy, they must trek through a blizzard to get back to the workshop. The elves then catch colds, and Santa has no choice but to send them all off to bed. Santa tries to take over the toy-making himself, but he finds that he can’t keep up. He calls on his trusted friend and adviser, Joe, an older elf who’s a retired toy-shop supervisor. Joe suggests that Santa enlist the help of grandparents, who will know how to make toys “with hands and heart,” as is the workshop’s practice. Santa puts out a call, and grandparents from across the United States make the journey to the North Pole. Together, the team knuckles down to make sure that there will be enough toys for everyone on Christmas morning. Bright, colorful illustrations accompany the text to show Santa, the elves, and the grandparents who come to the rescue. Although the grandparents’ arrival at the North Pole is documented in the text, readers will have to supply their own explanations for how they all managed to complete such an arduous journey. This is a wordy picture book, and its length suits the story; however, as a read-aloud, it may be best for an elementary-aged audience. The illustrations are somewhat flat at times, although their many details help bring the story to life. The characters, elves and grandparents alike, also lack diversity. Overall, this is a familiar story of a nearly ruined Christmas, but its grandma-and-grandpa spin is refreshing. An often fun Christmas story that will likely entertain young listeners and their grandparents.