Impish: The Christmas Elf
by Amanda McIlwain Hauser

"Some gifts packaged with silver bell crepe
Some gifts hidden within nutcracker paper and tape!"

For half of the year, life is dark and dreary at the North Pole. As frostbite sets in, there is no light, and even the polar bears and reindeer get gloomy. All of this changes when we meet Impish, one of Santa’s elves who longs for brightness, cheer, and warmth. Impish, it so happens, is in charge of the wrapping of gifts for boys and girls all over the world, and her little workshop is just outside the Big Guy’s door. And so, she devises a plan. What ensues is laughter, cheer, a brightening of the place, and—perhaps most significantly—a new, fun system which changes how good boys and girls all over the world on Christmas morning use their natural insight and creative intelligence to “figure out” which gifts they receive from Santa.

Hauser has crafted a unique take on the usual elf-makes-toys-for-girls-and-boys tale. Impish is quite an unusual elf; her desire to spice things up and her playful “trickster” personality lead to a major change in both the North Pole as well as for the children and their families when Santa Claus makes his deliveries. Young children will surely enjoy having this book read to them over and over again. The rhyme and the cadence are spot-on, but in this jolly and jovial picture book, to say that there is an unexpected twist is quite an understatement. While parents share in the out-loud reading of Hauser’s book with loved little ones, there is much to take in visually as well. The accompanying artwork is engaging and spritely, and children should find joy in discovering little (at first-hidden) gems on every page.

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