Merry Christmas, Little Elliot

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Merry Christmas, Little Elliot Book Poster Image
Elliot and Mouse bring a lonely girl cheer in warm tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Subtly shows a roundup of Christmasy things to do in New York: see the Rockefeller Center tree, attend a performance of "The Nutcracker" ballet, go sledding in Central Park, see Santa at a department store. 

Positive Messages

Holiday activities may not give you the Christmas spirit, but reaching out, being kind to someone can.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elliot and Mouse are kind, thoughtful, selfless, generous. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Merry Christmas, Little Elliot is the fifth book in Mike Curato's Little Elliot series about a sweet polka dotted elephant and his friend Mouse in New York. In this story, Elliot is having trouble finding the Christmas spirit. He finally finds it by helping answer a little girl's letter from Santa, in which she asks for some good friends. As usual, author-illustrator Curato's art is fantastic -- with sweeping snowy vistas, glittering holiday cityscapes, and adorable Elliot in a Santa hat.

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What's the story?

In MERRY CHRISTMAS, LITTLE ELLIOT, the sweet elephant is having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. He and his friend Mouse go to a ballet (looks like "The Nutcracker"), check out the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, visit Santa in a department store, and go sledding in Central Park. On a park bench there, a letter to Santa blows into Elliot, and he tries to take it back to the store. But it's closed and Santa is gone. So they take a cab to the home of the girl who wrote it, and grant her Christmas wish in person.

Is it any good?

This sweet holiday tale drives home the notion that being kind and giving to others is what the Christmas spirit is all about. In its gentle way, it shows that plugging into typical holiday activities doesn't always bring that spirit, but forgetting about yourself and reaching out to someone in need can do the trick.

Elliot's warm, innocent personality and Mike Curato's fantastic retro art once again give his book the look and feel of a classic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of the Christmas spirit at the core of Merry Christmas, Little Elliot. What gets you in the holiday spirit?

  • Have you ever written a letter to Santa? What would you write to him this year?

  • Have you read other Little Elliot books? Which one is your favorite? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holiday tales

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