The Great Christmas Crisis by Kim Normal, illustrated by Jannie Ho is a big book with pages that are a double-thickness. At first, that actually confused me, as I looked at those pages and wondered if they were supposed to open or there was some kind of mechanical or pop-up business I was missing. Nope, they're just thick pages. In case you're wondering, I do think nice, thick pages are a good thing.
The storyline in The Great Christmas Crisis obviously has to do with things going wrong at the North Pole. The elves are complaining, toys are whacked up, candy is coming out wrong. Actually, this is the best part of the book -- looking at the details of the illustrations showing things that are wrong, like a doll with the neck of her dress at her knees and the hem at her neck. You can view some of the illustrations from The Great Christmas Crisis at Jannie Ho's website.
Santa alters his chimney-expanding machine to shrink himself and go undercover in order to figure out the problem. But, he messes things up just as badly as the elves, melting a race-car track and turning candy canes purple with white spots. He decides that the elves are overworked and insists that they all relax for a while, tell ho-ho jokes (like knock-knock jokes, only they begin, "Ho ho! Who's there?"), play games, sit in front of the fire, meditate, etc.
But, there isn't much time till Christmas, so they really need to find a solution. Finally, Mrs. Claus comes to the rescue, advising Santa to use his altered shrinking machine to make the days longer. Kind of a silly solution, but The Great Christmas Crisis a book for small children and I have a feeling mine would have absolutely loved this book -- both of them. Remember my comment about the fact that one of my children didn't like books in which the illustrations are too "busy" (too much going on)? In this case, there's a lot going on, but the illustrations are so crisp that I think even the child who disliked busy illustrations would have pored over these and enjoyed the details. They're not overwhelming but they are interesting enough to keep your eyes moving for a while.
Recommended - Delightful illustrations are what really made The Great Christmas Crisis a winner, in my humble opinion. The story is a nice simple dilemma with a magical solution, great for holiday reading. The story is told in verse and it has a comfortable rhythm for reading aloud.
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