Trouble in Toyland (Elf Academy #1)

Alan Katz, illus. by Sernur Is¸ik. Aladdin Quix, $17.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6788-0

At Elf Academy, second grader Andy Snowden, a light-skinned young elf, is tired of making the same toys every day and “itching to build something different” using his imagination. When the principal announces the first-ever toy-building contest, Andy is determined to have his creation selected as Toy of the Year. With instructions to build a toy bird in an hour, Andy is unsure which species to choose—but a last-minute idea produces the Glop Clop Plop, an amalgam of 12 different birds that results in “one bird, [with] so many ways to play.” Is¸ik’s fine-lined drawings offer comedic, dynamic visuals (diversity is conveyed primarily through illustrations). Katz’s sweet series opener encourages out-of-the-box thinking, reassuring young readers that “you are each a winner every time you create something.” Back matter includes a vocabulary list and discussion questions. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)