A shiny red cover with a see-through panel shows Santa ready to take off with his reindeer in this changeable picture book featuring panels that shift smoothly with the pull of a tab from one holiday scene to another, closely related one.
A loosely structured, rhyming text moves from a house lit up for Christmas Eve to a group of children engaged in earlier preparations for the holiday, such as baking, attending a performance of The Nutcracker and caroling in the neighborhood. Then the story shifts to the elves and Santa preparing for the Christmas Eve delivery of toys, concluding with a double-page spread of toys under a decorated tree, with filled stockings hanging over the fireplace. Each spread has text on one side and a moving-picture illustration on the other, with each illustration evolving into a logical extension predicted by the text. A pile of snow transforms into a jolly snowman, the elves move from their workroom to the sleigh outside, and an armchair holding a cat shifts to a view of Santa enjoying his Christmas Eve snack. The mechanism of the changing panels moves easily, making the book a pleasure to use.
The moving-picture feature, while gimmicky, can seem quite magical to young children, and this one has better text, illustrations and mechanism than most of this kind. (Picture book. 2-6)