The Little Red Elf


The little red elf lives in a workshop with a penguin, a hare, and a reindeer. While the animals enjoyed their leisure, the elf did all of the work, from making toys to keeping things neat and clean. When she found some pinecones, she asked her friends to help plant them, but they were not interested. This begins a succession of tasks that no one wants to help with ... until it is time to open presents. Will the little red elf really keep her friends from opening gifts?

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Cute illustrations and a familiar story will attract young readers to this twist on a classic.

Content Awareness Factors:

This isn't a con, but readers who don't celebrate Christmas or Santa will want to know these are part of this story.

Little Kid Reaction

Our daughter liked the illustrations, but she didn't like the story. She really didn't like how no one would help the little red elf. She loved the illustrations - especially the animals playing in the Christmas tree.

Parent Reaction

This is a big disappointment. Yes, it is a clever take on the Little Red Hen, but I was taken aback by the idea that the animals whined their way into getting the gifts without so much as an "I'm sorry." Yes, Santa left them an appropriate gift, but only adults will "get it." Explaining irony to children is not an easy feat. The illustrations are terrific.

Type of Book:
This is a holiday story that is reminiscent of The Little Red Hen.
Educational Themes:

Although this story is built around Christmas, the themes can be used all year long. You've got everything from laziness and responsibility to forgiveness and sharing.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
7 to 9
Recommended Age To Read Together:
3 to 8
Age of child:
Read with 7-year-old child.
Purchase Recommendation:
Skip. This is a well-drawn book, but it's no fun having to explain the punch line to young children ... and they won't get it otherwise.

Title The Little Red Elf
Author Barbara Barbieri McGrath
Publisher Charlesbridge © 2009
Illustrators Rosalinde Bonnet
ISBN 9781580892360
Material Hard Cover
Cost $14.95
Genres Fable | Folklore, Holidays, Religion
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