In yet another story about stowaways in Santa’s sleigh, a young elf and his dog have an adventure together on Christmas Eve.
Tom is just learning to help out in Santa’s workshop. He hides under a blanket among the presents piled in the sleigh and, after take-off, is surprised to find his dog, Tucker, hiding there as well. The elf, his dog and the blanket fall out of the sleigh and are stranded in a snowy, rural area near a single house. Tom leaves the blanket and his hat as a gift for the family celebrating Christmas inside the house, and Santa mysteriously returns to collect the elf and his dog. The story, first published in Switzerland, is a little too long and wordy, with a chatty, old-fashioned tone that doesn’t do justice to the lovely watercolor illustrations. The snowy, starlit views of Santa’s sleigh in flight are gorgeous examples of watercolor at its best, and Tom and his dog are charming little characters who deserve a shorter, more succinct story.
Vainio is a talented illustrator who needs to polish his texts to match his attractive paintings. (Picture book. 3-6)