Who Will Pull Santa’s Sleigh?

Russ Willms. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-358-39342-9

It’s Santa’s “first Christmas delivering presents” in this lighthearted fare, but first Santa and the elves, all pink-skinned, need a team of animals to help pull the sleigh. With “only seven days until Christmas Eve,” Santa sends a “Sleigh Pullers Wanted” ad—with “full benefits, including dental”—to all the animals. The next morning, an assortment of eager applicants embark on test runs, but the bunnies are “too bouncy,” and the raccoons end up “making out like bandits” with the gifts. The monkeys seem to be the perfect crew—that is, until the mischievous bunch proves “too full of monkey business.” With only three days left, Santa selects a team of friendly dogs, but when a squirrel appears, chaos ensues. Via bright, cartoonlike illustrations, wordplay, and plentiful dialogue bubbles, Willms presents a comical origin story for Santa’s famous reindeer team. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)
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