cover image The Happy Elf

The Happy Elf

Harry Connick Jr., illus. by Dan Andreasen. Harper, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-128879-1

Like a lump of the “unburnable coal” that figures in its plot, this picture-book adaptation of Connick’s holiday song and 2005 animated TV special never catches fire. Eubie, an incessantly chipper elf with a magic hat, aims to bring cheer and the true meaning of Christmas to dreary Bluesville, at all costs; although he breaks the rules to do so, Santa rewards his efforts. The story is full of logical gaps (the unburnable coal, already oxymoronic, can somehow be polished to a glorious luster), but Andreasen’s creamy textured paintings help a bit. Packaged with a CD of the Connick tune. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)