cover image The Stocking Stuffer

The Stocking Stuffer

Holley Merriweather, illus. by Stephanie Graegin. HarperCollins, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-314207-7

How does Santa have time to leave presents under the tree and stuff stockings at all his stops? Turns out he has a little help, according to this “A Visit from St. Nicholas” update narrated by a North Pole mouse named Tinsel. When a Christmas Eve double-check reveals that there’s no one on the Naughty List this year, the elves work overtime to meet heightened toy demand, and mouse Tinsel takes the opportunity to offer assistance: “While you’re busy unpacking your bag full of treats/ I could fill stockings with trinkets and sweets.” Grateful for the assist, Santa, portrayed with light skin, gladly guides stocking stuffer “Tiny Tin” through the blizzarding night’s whirlwind delivery, making sure that no one is forgotten. Merriweather tweaks beloved lore just enough to spark readers’ imaginations anew—and keep them on the lookout for a tiny mouse decked out in a Santa suit. The book’s tall, narrow trim size suggests a stocking’s shape, and Graegin’s digital artwork features a surfeit of shadowy, decoration- and present-filled backdrops, befitting the protagonists’ journey between sleepy homes in the dark of night. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)