A Wish for Elves

Overview

The holiday season can be stressful, even for a kid. But when one boy makes a wish for a little holiday help, he gets more than he bargained for. And what will Santa do without his elves? Mark Gonyea uses comic-strip styling to great effect in this clever picture book.   

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Overview

The holiday season can be stressful, even for a kid. But when one boy makes a wish for a little holiday help, he gets more than he bargained for. And what will Santa do without his elves? Mark Gonyea uses comic-strip styling to great effect in this clever picture book.   

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this irreverent graphic novel–style picture book, a boy wishes that, like Santa, he had elves to subjugate, er, help him with his chores. He gets his wish, but discovers that elves can be troublesome. In festive reds and greens, Gonyea's high-contrast panels reduce the characters to their most elemental (Santa consists of a few circles, and the elves are wedges with feet and faces). The boy's Wimpy Kid–like mix of laziness and mischief make this a Christmas story for those at risk of getting coal in their stockings. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“A limited palette of reds, greens and yellow and simple shapes provide a sharp, contemporary look that will appeal to older children with limited reading skills.” —Kirkus Reviews
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
As Christmas approaches, a young boy who is frustrated with all he has to do around the house to get ready for the holiday wishes he had elves to help him out. At the North Pole, Santa ventures to his workshop to find all of his elves missing. He sets about putting up "missing elf" posters and trying to get the toys ready on his own. Meanwhile, the boy is awakened by his newly acquired elves. He puts them to work cleaning his room, doing the laundry, fixing his breakfast, and doing his homework. But things don't go quite as he planned; his clothes shrink, he gets a D on his homework, and there are just too many elves underfoot. He tries to sell them but doesn't have much luck; instead, he sends some sailing away attached to helium balloons. One elf makes it back to the North Pole, and Santa takes off to retrieve the rest. The boy happily gives them all back, except for "maybe just one or two" and everything gets back to normal just in time for Christmas. The text is very sparse, relying instead on the graphic format paneled illustrations to tell the bulk of the story. Bright, cheerful, geometric computer-generated illustrations in various shades of yellows, reds and greens are just waiting to be imitated in a classroom art or writing project. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Gonyea, a graphic designer, tries his hand at a very simple Christmas story—with mixed success. The simplified comic layout and the nearly wordless text show what happens when a boy wishes he had elves to help with his Christmas chores. All too soon, his "Woo Hoo!" reaction turns to "Oh no!" as the elves cause more trouble than they're worth and prove to be hard to get rid of. In the meantime, Santa is overworked, trying to get Christmas under control, and wishes he had his elves back. Vibrant, modern blocks of flat red, green, yellow, black, and white are at times visually compelling but more often, confusingly cluttered.—Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

The picture book takes graphic-novel form with a minimalist story about a boy who wishes he had his own set of elves to do his bidding. Santa's elves hear his wish and, with the help of a bright star, somehow transport themselves into the boy's life. The elves do the boy's chores and homework but in comically unreliable fashion, so then he has a new problem: how to rid himself of the increasing annoying elves. (An irate Santa arrives to solve that issue.) The illustrations are laid out in sequential, mostly wordless panels, with the story conveyed through the art, speech balloons (mostly funny elf comments) and signs and posters. A limited palette of reds, greens and yellow and simple shapes provide a sharp, contemporary look that will appeal to older children with limited reading skills. (Picture book. 4-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805088144
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Gonyea is the author and illustrator of A Book About Color: A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists, A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn’t Make It Good, and Another Book About Design: Complicated Doesn’t Make It Bad. He was born in upstate New York and spent most of his childhood consuming cartoons, video games, and monster movies.

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