As he did in Five Little Pumpkins (1998) and Five Little Bunnies (2016), Yaccarino revisits the familiar fingerplay formula and links it to a holiday.
Santa's elves are packing the “sled” (not sleigh) and anticipating Santa's round-the-world journey. The green elves, though smiling, look ghoulish, almost evil, especially the one with sharp pointy glasses. They resemble the characters in some of Yaccarino's illustrated texts for older children, such as Delivery of Doom (2014), which is fine for intergalactic pizza deliverers but not the kind of introduction likely to make a toddler happy to meet the mall Santa for the requisite photo op. In contrast, the children who receive the presents have the innocence of Yaccarino’s Doug Unplugged (2013) characters. The whole package is a mixed bag. The text starts out simply enough, with “Five little elves sitting on a sled.” By the fourth elf's line (“We bring great joy to every little girl and boy”), the text is too long and the scansion is awkward. Although they don't follow any predictable order, it is clear which elf is speaking, as it’s the only one with an open mouth. Toddlers raised on television graphics may find these elves appealing, and adults may find it useful when they just can't face another reading of “The Night Before Christmas.”
Unlikely to become a classic. (Board book. 1-3)