cover image The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Jake Parker. Chronicle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4514-3

In this competition-minded holiday tale, Santa’s elves discover that bigger and newer isn’t always better. As the elves prepare to tune up Santa’s sleigh for its Christmas Eve trip, they discover that it’s a wreck: “The sleigh is totaled, smashed, and battered!/ The elves are rocked! They’re shocked! It’s shattered!” A dozen teams square off to create “the coolest sleigh,” as judged by Santa himself. Though all manner of gleaming vehicles roll off the assembly line—hot rods, flying semi trucks, “aquatic, atomic, gigantic inventions”—it’s the smallest elf who nails it, opting to refurbish, not reinvent. Rinker’s zippy rhymes dip in and out of the elves’ commentary (“ ‘How’s this for high-speed Christmas cheer?!’/ ‘That reindeer thing is so last year.’ ”), and Parker’s cartoons evoke vintage comics, mixing magic and mechanics as the elves’ imaginations and talents run wild. Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Oct.)