When the reindeer get too out of shape to pull Santa’s sleigh, an elf named Orville designs a custom jet for Santa’s Christmas Eve deliveries, though Santa finds his traditional transportation mode suits him best.
Computer-generated illustrations and slapstick humor set the tone for this amusing, first-person account told from Santa’s point of view. The elves produce a new, bright-red jet for Santa in record time, and he zips around the North Pole on practice runs. But during his Christmas Eve deliveries, Santa finds the jet noisy and hard to land. He misses the reindeer, and when fog sets in, he sends up an emergency flare for reindeer road assistance. The reindeer have been secretly working out and fixing up the old sleigh, so they fly to Santa’s aid to complete the holiday deliveries in the old-fashioned way. The visual gag ending shown in thought bubbles from the reindeer reveals Santa’s jet in a display at the History of Flight Museum, rather than the reindeer team shown in a previous illustration. These newly buff reindeer are far from obsolescence.
The story line is a little forced and the ending is predictable, but kids who like shiny airplanes or alternate means of transportation will like seeing Santa in a jet instead of a sleigh. (Picture book. 3-6)