cover image Elf in the House

Elf in the House

Ammi-Joan Paquette, illus. by Adam Record. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8132-6

The duo behind Ghost in the House reunites for a jaunty blend of cumulative holiday tale, counting book, and onomatopoeic celebration. It’s the night before Christmas, and in one girl’s house, a mouse is both stirring and helping himself to cookies left out for Santa. Discovered by the girl, the mouse takes his spot in the second position in a kind of Christmas Eve conga line that grows to include an elf, reindeer, and Santa himself. Sound effects help introduce the characters, and Paquette’s verse builds gentle suspense as they are found (“Then a quick streak of red/ Flashes by up ahead,/ And suddenly they hear... a giggle!”). Record’s digital artwork features bold blocks of color and simple geometric shapes, creating scenes that are simultaneously energetic and hushed—presumably the girl’s parents are sleeping upstairs somewhere. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Sept.) [/em]