The Little Red Elf

Overview

Who will help the little red elf prepare for Christmas?

This clever retelling of "The Little Red Hen" features a little red elf and her lazy friends: the hare, the penguin, and the reindeer. When the cheerful elf can't get help planting the pinecones or decorating the Christmas tree, she knows just how to reward her friends.

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Overview

Who will help the little red elf prepare for Christmas?

This clever retelling of "The Little Red Hen" features a little red elf and her lazy friends: the hare, the penguin, and the reindeer. When the cheerful elf can't get help planting the pinecones or decorating the Christmas tree, she knows just how to reward her friends.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McGrath recasts the Little Red Hen folktale in a holiday setting. A hardworking elf lives at a North Pole workshop with three lazy but likable toys: a reindeer, rabbit and penguin. The elf asks for help growing and decorating a pine tree along with other Christmas activities, but all three toys decline. Finally, the elf has a meltdown. Readers will giggle at the ne'er-do-well toys in Bonnet's sweetly amusing acrylic and pen illustrations (the reindeer floats Christmas ornaments in the tub), but the punch line—the gifts under the tree are all red hens—may require explanation. Ages 2–7. (July)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Once upon a time…a reindeer, a penguin, a hare, and a little red elf…all lived together in a comfy, cozy workshop." While the others relax or snooze, the elf has to do all the work. In this cumulative echo of the Little Red Hen, the elf finds, plants, and waters a pine cone, watching it grow into a tree as the others refuse to help. All by herself, the elf digs the tree up, puts it into a bucket, brings it into the house, adds lights and decorations, and sets out the traditional milk and cookies. Of course, on Christmas morning, when she asks who will help open the presents, the others are suddenly eager to help. She does protest, but when they cry she lets them. Their presents from Santa are ironic but appropriate, to the elf's satisfaction. The simple tale is visualized with equally simple, humorous characters and settings. Black ballpoint drawings are colored with tints of acrylic paints to create the stuffed-animal-like animals and the elf with childishly large head and button eyes under her ever-present red stocking cap. The lesson of the story is clear. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–The little red elf has a bunch of lazy housemates–a reindeer, a penguin, and a hare–who won’t help out in the toy workshop or assist her in planting and caring for a little pine tree. When the tree is grown, she digs it up, decorates it, and bakes cookies. The next morning, she asks, “Who will help me open the presents?” Only then do the housemates volunteer. In a sly wink from Santa, the presents turn out to be toy Little Red Hens. This sweet version is simply told but includes plenty of funny asides (“Well, I love being busy!” the little red elf exclaims after yet another failed attempt to get help). The acrylic and ballpoint-pen illustrations are full of childlike humor, depicting cute North Pole characters who look like toys themselves. This is that rare beast–an endearing holiday book without a hint of treacle.–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A cute little elf in red overalls and stocking cap is an efficient worker who gets everything done herself, including making toys for Santa. She lives with her friends-a reindeer, a penguin and a hare-but they prefer to sleep or play rather than help with household tasks. When the little red elf finds a pine cone and plants it, the plot then follows the structure of "The Little Red Hen." The little elf does all the preparations for Christmas herself while her friends lie around, but then they want to open all the presents on Christmas morning. In a clever twist, the many presents for the lazy ones are all stuffed little-red-hen toys. Bonnet's illustrations are bright and cheerful, with a sweet elf and comical creatures as the nonhelpers. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580892360
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 1,428,501
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Barbieri McGrath was a nursery school teacher before she dedicated herself to writing children's books full time. She is the author of THE LITTLE RED ELF, THE LITTLE GREEN WITCH, and many bestselling math concept books. Barbara lives in Natick, Massachussetts.

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