A little elf’s clandestine adventure as a stowaway on Santa’s sleigh takes an unexpected turn in an engaging contemporary spin on the classic 19th-century poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
In Jensen’s (The Worrywart Elf, 2013, etc.) latest children’s book, Dizzy the Elf yearns to have a high-flying adventure, just like his best friend Tizzy—who figures in both of the author’s earlier story poems. He sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh just before takeoff, “And burrowing down, his heart beating like mad, Small Dizzy felt dazzled at being so bad!” After millions of stops, Santa’s energy flags. His new GPS “Virtual Reins” device would allow him to catnap between chimneys, if only he knew how to operate it. Dizzy knows, but if he helps, his naughtiness will be discovered. What to do? The appealing energy and colorful verbal imagery is passably echoed in static illustrations by Agostini. At the home of brothers Stu and Drake, Santa knocks down a Christmas tree, and the brothers spot Dizzy when he drops through their skylight window to come to Santa’s aid (“And what to their wondering eyes then appeared, But a miniature man, who was quite pointy-eared”). When the brothers sneak a peek at the reindeer, they end up on the roof, and the startled animals take off over the rooftops. Stu comes to the rescue, using the Virtual Reins to bring the sleigh back to the brothers’ own rooftop, and he and Drake make it safely back inside. Dizzy hides on the sleigh again, and Santa is none the wiser. Or is he? As they “flew out of sight,” savvy, kind Santa surprises Dizzy and the brothers, too. One small error to correct: “Soon Santa popped up to the roof straightaway, With an handful of cookies to stow in his sleigh.”
The author propels her present-day take on the classic Christmas poem with gentle humor and suspense, smoothly incorporating lines from the original poem into her lively tale about a stowaway elf.