Title: Finding Santa: The Adventure of Greedy Elf
Author: Ellie Elf
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Gus the elf is a very hard worker. So hard in fact, that one winter Santa invites him along to deliver presents to children on Christmas Eve. Upon finding a toy train that has been broken by a child, Gus transforms into Greedy Elf, a bitter usurper who wants to take Santa’s power for himself and run the North Pole his own way. When Santa gets shrunk down to the size of a toy and trapped in an ice bubble by Greedy Elf, it’s up to Lucy the pixie to follow a trail of riddle-clues and free Santa.
Finding Santa is a thoroughly enjoyable holiday romp through vintage-style sculpted illustrations. Adults are sure to be charmed by the figures that the author has posed and photographed for the illustration, even going to far as to pose as the North Pole’s photographer elf. The illustrations call to mind claymation Christmas films from the sixties and re-capture the quirky warmth of those holiday classics while putting their own spin on the style. Every illustration adds to the atmosphere and plot of this story, and some are even staged in full settings, with backdrops, props, and ambient lighting.
Some characters in Finding Santa, like the winter wizard with a heart of ice, may be familiar to fans of classic Christmas movies, while others, like Lucy the resourceful pixie with cotton-candy hair, will be entirely new friends for young readers. Numerous named characters are introduced at multiple points along the narrative, perhaps too many in a book of this length. For example, Lucy’s best friend Marcus is introduced by name and depicted in one of the illustrations, but never really plays an important role in a story that is already full of characters.
Still, the bright and beautiful costumes of each character are a delight to view, and the characters interact with one another in interesting ways that are still straightforward enough to hold a child’s attention.
The storyline is laudably complex, with a primary and secondary antagonist, magic, riddles, and deception all working in tandem to form the central conflict. There’s more than enough intrigue and action to fill a two-hour family film in this slim book of thirty-two pages, and the storyline may be a bit too convoluted for the target age demographic of about three to eight.
However, this unique and layered story is sure to spark the imagination of the right child. While younger readers may not be able to grasp the nuance of the riddles Lucy uses to free Santa, older readers will enjoy this interactive element of the story.
Finding Santa: The Adventures of Greedy Elf is a cinematic children’s story promoting a timeless message about the power of love. Its sculpted illustrations are enchanting and draw readers into a twisting tale of betrayal and forgiveness. The riddles that readers are invited to help Lucy solve are an excellent interactive element that will keep children engaged and excited to figure out the ending. This clever book is sure to be enjoyed by young readers even when the holidays are long past.
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