Some advice for pulling the wool over Santa’s helpers’ eyes.
While the trademarked Elf on the Shelf isn’t explicitly mentioned, its all-seeing power is clearly referenced in this story about helping children stay off Santa’s naughty list. Worried kids with a range of skin tones and hair colors are addressed by the text, which asks, “what if you could trick [the elf] so that you can sneak a look? Maybe you can change his mind…and what goes in his book!” Elf distraction is the goal, and the rhyming couplets say that the best way to divert an elf’s attention is to “construct a tiny Christmas sleigh that only he could fly.” Subsequent spreads give step-by-step instructions and materials suggestions for the project, ultimately providing a guide for readers to build their own sleighs to distract the elves that spy from their shelves. In a twist at the end, the elf is so delighted by the sleigh that he rewards the children by affirming that they are on the nice list. A letter addressed to them, not a list after all, provides this affirmation, but it also could be read as suggesting bribery as a good strategy for niceness. This stance undermines the culminating message that “giving from your heart…[is] what good people do” since the children clearly had ulterior motives for their sleigh building.
Not very nice. (Picture book. 4-7)