An elf learns the joy of giving in this sweet—but not saccharine—Christmas story by debut author Thomason.
Jingle Jangle is an elf known for his giving spirit. Told in a flashback, readers see him in his early days. The elf has no desire to share any of his creations. Instead of making toys for good children, Jingle Jangle tucks all his work away in his own stocking. In a wonderful image by Barrett, children can see just how troublesome this toy hoarding becomes. Jingle Jangle’s huge, pink stocking, patched with bits of what might be wrapping paper, takes up most of his house! After building a separate shelter for his stocking and toys, he hears a strange series of knocks on his door (the reader never learns who is doing the knocking). On the first night, no one is there. The next morning when he answers the knock, a present appears on the doorstep. But the box is empty, and Jingle Jangle is left disappointed—until he decides to fill it with one of his toys to open himself. But when Jingle Jangle leaves the box on his own doorstep, intending to “find” it again as a surprise, a tiny mouse discovers it first. Initially angry, as he watches the mouse play, Jingle Jangle feels his heart grow—perhaps not three sizes like the Grinch’s ticker, but big enough that he realizes how fun it is to create for others. Parents of children having trouble sharing or letting go of some of their older, unplayed-with toys as new presents come in, may be able to use Jingle Jangle’s story of giving as encouragement to inspire generosity at home. Children listening or reading along are likely to become attached to the greedy elf even when he is not at his best through Barrett’s inviting illustrations. The elf is full of action poses, and despite his simple face, his body expressions communicate a lot about his character.
A good selection for homes in need of a little more giving spirit at Christmastime.