cover image A Bad Start for Santa

A Bad Start for Santa

Sarah Hayes. Atlantic Monthly Press, $12.95 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-87113-093-8

Santa and the elves have problemshe's lost his mittens and they've misplaced an entire sack of toys. Santa searches every roomthe workshop, paintshop, candy factory, packing room, storeroom, boiler-room, stable and shedwith no luck. Then the elves show him what readers have known all along, that the mittens are in his back pocket. And Santa, during his hunt, has found every missing item on the elves' lists. The North Pole appears as a realistic, functional factorymaybe all those toys do come from there. While Hayes's text is funny and deliberately dry, Charteris has crammed each page with comic details: elves in silly outfits (or silly situations), visual subplots and wacky messages (""Good Luck, S. C.'' is painted on a reindeer's haunch). It's a book to be enjoyed more than once. (4-8)