In this picture book, two boys plan to catch Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve when they deliver new sets of pajamas.
Santa’s elves are on a mission to give all the good children of the world not toys, as one might expect, but new pairs of pajamas. Through the use of a magical crystal ball, Santa’s elves check to make sure children are taking their baths on Christmas Eve, and then they leave a brand new set of pajamas just outside the bathroom door. But brothers Jack and Ben are determined to finally catch an elf. They concoct a daring plan to capture one through traps and a net, luring it with cheese and using their dog as a lookout. However, the boys prove no match for the mischievous elves, who cause quite the mess—squeezing out toothpaste and hair gel and ransacking bedrooms. Ben eventually runs outside in the cold wearing only a towel, which he promptly loses. Luckily, his brother is there to return it. The story is written using a simple rhyming structure, which adds a musical touch: “This Christmas Eve gift / is amazing, that’s true. / But the boys know what’s / coming: Elf hullabaloo!” Colorful illustrations vividly bring the action to life through detailed characters and elaborate backgrounds. The elves, hidden on all the pages (at the end of the book, the authors ask readers to count all the elves they’ve spotted), have playful, impish smiles, and where text appears, touches of red and green and holiday decorations adorn the pages. The downside of the rhyme scheme is its impact on dialogue: No dialogue tags are used, and two speakers are often found in the same stanza, so it can be unclear who’s speaking. While the text is sparse on action—the only exciting scene being Ben chasing the elves outside—the charming illustrations make up for the lack of plot.
A magical, wholesome Christmas read.