Merry Christmas, Little Elliot

Mike Curato. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-18589-1

Little Elliot, the white and pastel-polka-dotted elephant, is regretfully lacking Christmas spirit. With friend Mouse, Elliot looks for inspiration from the department store Santa, at a production of The Nutcracker, in the tree in Rockefeller Center, and sledding in Central Park. When Elliot discovers a lost letter from a child to Santa, he and Mouse take a yellow cab out of the city and to a quiet country house, where they deliver themselves in response to the girl’s modest request: “Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like some good friends.” With elegant scenes that seem lifted from a bygone New York City, Curato again enhances a quiet story about friendship and belonging. Ages 4–8.[em] (Sept.) [/em]