The Little Red Elf
Product Code: 92360
Binding Information: Hardback
Ages: 2 - 7
Availability: In stock
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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.
This book is good for your brain because:
Early Childhood Literacy, Christmas Traditions, Friendship
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For Immediate Release--Kids! - August 2, 2009I think most people are aware of the story of the Little Red Hen. A classic tale where the hen does all the work to make a loaf of bread, from planting the wheat to baking the bread. None of the animals have the time to help her ... until it comes to eating the bread. Suddenly, the busy parties have all the time in the world to help with the tasty part. To the readers' satisfaction, the hen declares that only those who helped with the work shall enjoy the spoils.
Little Red Elf is the adorable Christmas adaptation of this classic story. Little red elf lives in a cozy workshop at the North Pole with a reindeer, a penguin and a hare. While the elf toils in the workshop, the reindeer prefers to snooze, the penguin enjoys long bubble baths and the hare slumbers by the fireplace. Little red elf has a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. While the others loaf, she cleans the workshop, fetches the mail and polishes the sleigh.
One day little red elf stumbles upon some pinecones that she knows would make beautiful Christmas decorations. Unsurprisingly, none of the others have the time to help plant or water the pinecones. They certainly couldn't be bothered to help cut down the tree and haul it into the workshop, nor festoon it with festive lights and sparkly decorations. Little red elf does all of this herself. The others only show interest in the tree project when the presents appear! They are practically falling over themselves to lend a hand then. Little red elf takes the opportunity to teach the others a lesson, in a nice way.
The illustrations by Rosalinde Bonnet are just too darn precious! By far, the most adorable interpretation of this story that I have ever seen. The woodland creatures are just bursting with cuteness. Even the mice have their own underground city with a tiny stove and miniature four poster beds in their mouse house. The book's adorable factor is tempered by the humor, reaching a fine balance. The animals toss off snide one-liners, such as the hare claiming to be allergic to helping. The end result is a great Christmas book to add to your collection.
Curled Up with a Good Kid's Book - August 25, 2009There is no hen in The Little Red Elf, nor is anyone is baking bread, but you can still tell it’s an adaptation of the children’s folktale “The Little Red Hen.” In this new book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath, the Little Red Hen has been replaced by the Little Red Elf, and the farmyard animals have been replaced by a hare, a reindeer, and a penguin. The Little Red Elf, which is set in the North Pole, begins with an open view of Santa’s workshop and ends with a surprise on Christmas morning.
Just like the Little Red Hen, the Little Red Elf is a good worker - but she needs some help. She asks the hare, the reindeer, and the penguin to help her grow a pine tree, but they all make excuses. The hare is always too tired, and the penguin and the reindeer are always too busy playing.
The only time they want to help the Little Red Elf is on Christmas morning. There are lots of presents to unwrap that morning. They race to the tree to open them, but what they see inside the presents gives them big, red cheeks and worried looks in their eyes. Hare, Reindeer, and Penguin look embarrassed, but the Little Red Elf appears happy. Santa has managed to send the “perfect gifts.”
Although her three friends won’t help her, the Little Red Elf is never alone. When she’s outside planting the pine cone, birds surround her and perch on her hat. When she waters the pine tree, mice come out of their homes to see what she’s doing. When she brings the pine tree into the workshop, several animals follow her in.
Personalities are revealed on the first page of this story by giving readers an inside look at the workshop. Everyone is relaxing except the Little Red Elf. She works in the toy shop while Hare drags his blanket downstairs, Penguin gets ready for a bath, and Reindeer rests in his hay.
The Little Red Elf works from 9am to 4pm while the others do whatever they want. They especially like to say “no” to work. The reindeer is the politest of the group when he says no to the Little Red Elf, saying “Not I.” The penguin says things like “What’s with all the questions?” and the hare mumbles “Did someone say something?”
The pale blue skies and light yellow backgrounds, along with the views of the snow falling outside, give this story a quiet, calm feel. In addition, Christmas garland decorates the top of many pages of the last few pages of the book, and different-colored stars and snowflakes are scattered throughout, reminding readers of Christmas magic.
This holiday adaptation of “The Little Red Hen” teaches children the importance of helping one another. It may also make some adults chuckle as it shows that Santa is always watching!
Barbara Barbieri McGrath was a preschool teacher for sixteen years. A graduate of Lasell College, Barbara is the author of the children’s books Soccer Counts! and The Little Green Witch. She lives in Massachusetts.
Rosalinde Bonnet used acrylic paint and black ballpoint pen for her illustrations in The Little Red Elf. Her animals look cute because they are small and round, and her elf looks sweet and cheerful because of her Christmas outfit, her wide-open eyes, and her little smile. Bonnet has illustrated several children’s pictures book from her home in France.
School Library Journal - October 1, 2009The 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.
Kirkus Reviews - September 15, 2009A cute little elf in red overalls and stocking cap is an efficient worker who gets everthing 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 taks. 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 Chirstmas 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.
Publishers Weekly - October 26, 2009McGrath 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.
The Horn Book - November 1, 2009The little red elf is used to doing everything herself while her friends the reindeer, the penguin, and the hare laze around the workshop. It comes as no surprise that her cheerful requests for help preparing for Christmas are quickly dismissed. “‘Who will help me put out milk and cookies?’ ‘Not I,’ said the reindeer. ‘Why bother saying yes now?’ said the penguin. ‘I’m allergic,’ said the hare.” On Christmas morning, however, everyone is more than eager to assist in opening presents. Bonnet’s more-than-helpful illustrations give an extra-festive boost to McGrath’s already spirited version of a familiar tale. Even at their cheekiest, the reindeer, penguin, and hare look friendly and cuddly. The little red elf’s “most positive of attitudes” shines through in the text and art, but the pictures also hint that, like her predecessor, she’s no chump. Speaking of whom, the little red hen herself makes a cameo appearance in the poetically just ending.
Children's Literature Comprehensive Database - November 24, 2009Once 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.
Book Loons - October 1, 2009This story may sound familiar because it is a clever retelling of The Little Red Hen. In this instance a little red elf shares a large house and workshop with a reindeer, penguin and hare. All the work seems to fall onto the elf's shoulders because her housemates can't be bothered whenever she asks for help.
One day the little red elf stumbles upon some pine cones. 'Who will help me plant these pine cones?' she asks. As usual, back comes a chorus of, 'Not I!' Over time, with no help from her friends, the elf cares for the trees that grow from the pine cones she carefully planted.
Eventually she cuts down a tree to decorate for Christmas. And, as usual, hare, reindeer and penguin are not interested in helping her. In fact, they can't even be bothered to put out milk and cookies for Santa.
On Christmas morning a huge pile of presents sits under the tree. When the little red elf says, 'Who will help me open the presents?', the lazy trio chimes in together that they'd be only too happy to help her now.
But, there's a surprise awaiting her friends. Inside the gaily wrapped boxes are the perfect gifts for these less than cooperative companions who could never seem to lend a helping hand.
Although you may have to explain the significance of the surprises in the gift boxes, this is a story with a simple message. Children ages two and older should be able to understand what the main issue is in The Little Red Elf. Heaven knows that helping others is always a good idea any time of the year, but around the holidays it really makes a lot of sense to answer a request for 'Who will help me?' with a rousing 'I will!'
The Midwest Book Review - December 1, 2009Lazy companions get their just desserts in a Christmas season take on the classic "Little Red Hen." A little red elf - who interestingly, clearly resides at the traditionally bustling North Pole with no one but her animals friends, no Santa or other elves in sight despite multiple references to holiday things like a red sleigh -- is readying for Christmas. As with the heroine in "Little Red Hen" the elf gets stuck with all the work while her friends loaf. She polishes the sleigh, untangles the lights, bakes the cookies, shovels the snow and (sort of miraculously) grows a Christmas tree from a seed overnight, then harvests and decorates it. The friends, of course, are eager to ultimately open presents and after an initial angry retort of "I'm going to open all the presents myself," the elf lets them. But then she delights as they find the boxes filled with little red hens. Some adult readers might suggest a better conclusion would have been to have the elf set her resentment aside and offer better gifts, or for the animal friends to come to their senses and acknowledge they should have been contributing more. But there is also validity to righteous anger, and expressing to those taking advantage of your good nature that their slothful behavior isn't appreciated. The Little Red Elf is a good outlet for those who would love to give such presents to the difficult people in their lives, but whose goodness stops them short of that line. And it's a good message for those who fall on the lazy size of the equation. Some people might also say that the red elf epitomizes those who try to do too much during the holidays, and that she might take a lesson in her friends' more deliberate lifestyle. All those potential messages aside, however, The Little Red Elf is captivatingly illustrated in lovely wintry and holiday hues. Its attractiveness will help the idea of pitching in come through for young readers, while older readers and adults can chuckle at the retributive ending.
Thebookbandit's Blog - December 7, 2010Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:
It’s a fresh retelling of the Little Red Hen – instead of lazy farm animals, this retelling features a lazy reindeer (who likes to lay in the hay and dream of carrots), a little blue penguin (who likes to relax in a bath), and a lazy hare (who likes to pass the days by hibernating in front of the fire)
I love how they work in a just a workshop, not Santa’s workshop. I think this aspect makes the book appealing to younger and even older children.
The Little Red Elf is darling! She’s sweet, well-mannered, and patient.
Unlike her workshop mates, she’s not lazy. In fact she’s the busiest one of them all, and she loves keeping busy.
I love how dedicated she is to the workshop, and how much pride she takes in what she does within it. I think this shows readers to do things that will make you proud of yourself, and to do the things in life you love more.
I love how, at one moment in the book, the reindeer is wearing a cowboy get-up, while the penguin looks as if he’s on the three musketeers – he even has a sword!
The Little Red Elf really knows how to get everyone’s attention.
The author paid close attention to all the details featured in the book – even the littlest of details. For example, when the Little Red Elf is planting the pine cone, underneath the ground there’s a workshop – only mice dwell within it.
These little details made the book even more enjoyable. And it’s certain to be something every reader will pick up on.
I love how the message is not to take advantage of people, especially people who go out-of-the-way to make something more enjoyable, not for themselves but for everyone involved.
Even the Little Red Elf has a breaking point, and it shows that it’s okay to have a mini meltdown, it’s even needed sometimes.
The illustrations compliment the overall story, and a beautifully drawn.
The illustrations is what makes this book feel like a real winter story.
I can’t say it because I don’t want to give away the ending, but I will say this: It’s clever and I love it! It left me laughing.
I love how this book shows patience, and what it’s like to loose patience.