What! Some good children will not receive Christmas presents?
Santa’s elves are busy preparing for Christmas and checking The List for the names of those children deserving of presents. The newest elf, named Shmelf, is aghast to learn that there are many young ones who “would not receive presents, / Though it seemed that they should!” He consults with the head elf, who informs him that these children are “actually Jewish” and that they “celebrate Hanukkah, / Their own jubilee.” Shmelf visits a family, observes their joyous festivities, and is thrilled to see all the gifts. Santa then dresses him in blue and white, gives him a sleigh, a Jewish reindeer named Asher, and sends him out on Hanukkah to enhance the festival celebrations; the text suggests that Jewish readers leave him “some gelt and a nice kosher dill.” Wolfe tells his tale in rhyming couplets and includes a very brief history of the origins of Hanukkah. McWilliam’s digital illustrations are bright and busy, showing both white and black elves and a Jewish family with a white father and a dark-skinned mother; Santa is white.
Those in search of seasonal stories that contain a blend of Christmas and Hanukkah will find an entertaining tale here. (Picture book. 3-6)