cover image SANTAKID


James Patterson, , illus. by Michael Garland. . Little, Brown, $18.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-316-00061-1

The bestselling adult novelist wraps up his first picture book with a big green bow on the shiny red jacket. But the contents may leave readers wanting. "Hiya! My name is Chrissie/ and I live at the North Pole./ Pretty cool, huh?" sets the oleaginous tone for this far-reaching fantasy. Why does Chrissie frequent Santa's Toy Workshop and play with the elves and reindeer? Because she's "Santa's little girl." She debunks some beliefs about her dad (he's heart-healthy and thin, for instance; he only sprouts a beard and dresses up for his annual sleigh ride) and wards off a hostile takeover of Christmas by the Big Boss of the Exmass Express company (who manufactures toys like Princess PeePee and PooPoo). Garland's crisp digital images add zip to the action and warmth to the bond between Santa and his daughter, but can't compensate for the didactic moral. Ages 3-6. (Nov.)