In Michaels’ (The Order of St. Michael, 2016, etc.) middle-grade adventure sequel, Christmas elves fight against an evil group’s diabolical plan, which involves kidnapping Santa Claus.
In the last book of the series, the Tannenbaum Tailors, a group of elves who tend and “tailor,” or decorate, trees, successfully saved Christmas in 1987 by stopping the Spiritless elves from stealing the Snowball—Santa’s device for delivering gifts. In this book, they must still contend with the Spiritless, who slip tree-destroying swarmer termites into a toy and also try to abduct the Tailors and their captain, Brendan Holly. With help from a fairy named Jane, the Tailors once again thwart the Spiritless, but as the next Christmas draws near, they become wary. A Spiritless elf that the Tailors call “Number One” has been missing for a year, and it also appears that the Spiritless have their own version of a GlimmerBeam, a device that sends presents directly to Santa’s bag. At the same time, Brendan faces a court martial for violating an oath; he revealed himself and the history of the North Pole to a young human, Jack, because he needed the boy’s help. Jane and fellow fairy Coco’s reconnaissance mission to the Spiritless’ South Pole headquarters takes an unexpected turn when they find out that Santa is being held captive there. To make matters worse, there may be a traitor among the good elves. Michaels’ second book to feature the Tailors is a quick, delightful read, with short chapters that effectively bounce the story from scene to scene. The Christian symbolism is perhaps too conspicuous; for example, the Spiritless are elves who rebelled against Santa and then went to the South Pole. But a sense of humor is still prevalent throughout; one highlight is when Tailor Steve and a Spiritless elf vie for Jack’s attention—one at each of his ears, much as if an angel and a devil were on his shoulders. The action is intense throughout, including physical altercations and explosions, but young readers will have no sympathy for the defeated Spiritless. The book even includes a possible origin for Santa, although the background on the dark elves’ potential leader is more striking.
A lively tale whose highly skilled, pint-sized heroes provide endless fun.