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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of vehicle vocabulary: chassis, turbo, fuel-injected, suspension, nitrous burning, gizmos, semi truck, diesel, headlights, blimp, hot rod, bulldozer, exhaust, pulleys, levers, souped-up. Shows construction tools, from hammers and wrenches to blow torches and speed-boosting nitrous-oxide tanks. Shows design process, with charts, graphs, mathematical calculations.
Strong message about the value of teamwork, friendly competition, and being creative to solve a problem.
Positive Role Models
The elves are creative and hardworking, dedicated to meeting their deadline so Santa will be able to deliver gifts to kids around the world. Santa is kind and appreciative of their hard work.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The 12 Sleighs of Christmas, by Sherri Dusker Rinker (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) and illustrated by Jake Parker (The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man), is a zippy rhyming tale about a contest among 12 teams of diverse North Pole elves to build the best new sleigh for Santa's Christmas Eve ride around the world. This is an especially good choice for kids who love cars and trucks. It offers lots of vehicle and engine vocabulary and makes a turbocharged read-aloud.
Is It Any Good?
Kids who love cars and trucks will love this action-packed story about alternatives to Santa's traditional sleigh. Author Sherri Duskey Rinker knows a thing about vehicles, after writing Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and its follow-up, Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. The text has great momentum, but it's rather lengthy, and some the rhyming schemes are inconsistent, making it a less than smooth read-aloud in places. ("He's been working privately, / as hard at work as one can be, / on a secret back-up plan.") But car and truck lovers might not care.
Jake Parker's cartoon-like illustrations are visually dazzling, from the fanciful sleighs to the antic elves. There's a welcome diversity in the cast, and the independent-minded elf hero of the tale has brown skin.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.