Another story in a long string of similar tales about difficulties with the elf staff at the North Pole.
This time the elves are “bickering, / blaming and bleating” due to mechanical difficulties and supply shortages. Santa Claus goes on an undercover research mission in the workshop by shrinking himself down to elf size (though he doesn’t bother to change his suit from red to green). He finds that the elves are suffering from pressure to work faster from their zealous foreman. Santa institutes a more relaxed pace with massages and joke-telling sessions, but then the staff falls even further behind. At the suggestion of Mrs. Claus, they use their chimney enlarger machine to stretch out the days before Christmas to get their work done. A large format with heavy, coated pages implies quite a young audience, but the concepts of a heavy workload leading to stress and time expansion are more suited to an older audience. Computer-generated illustrations provide amusing views of the busy elves, including both male and female helpers of many skin tones. The story is told in cleverly rhymed quatrains set in curved text blocks that flow within the illustrations in a pleasing manner.
These overworked elves don’t crack any new ice, but their story is entertaining enough for holiday reading in those busy days before Santa’s arrival. (Picture book. 3-7)