by Moore, Lorrie
Although he's been making toys in Santa's workshop for more than 40 years and has earned a name for himself as the best crafts-elf around, Aben is also a big pain in the neck. This disgruntled employee likes nothing better than to torment his fellow elves by tying their stocking caps together or swinging from the ceiling lights and dropping gumdrops into their projects. Aben finally pushes Santa too far one day shortly before Christmas and is demoted to Reindeer Guard for Christmas Eve. Bored and restless waiting for Santa and the other elves to make their rounds while he remains on the rooftops with the reindeer, Aben decides to sneak into the very last house. While Aben is pilfering Santa's cookies and milk, he is accidentally left behind. He quickly realizes that his only hope for returning to the North Pole next year is to ensure that the unruly and sour-faced girl of the house becomes good. This will be no easy task, especially for one so accustomed to being bad, himself.
Lorrie Moore, best known for her wonderful adult fiction, appearing in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, ventures into children's books with this witty tale about a cantankerous pair who, by book's end, just begin to understand the meaning of being good. A bit bumpy at times, with a somewhat abrupt conclusion, the story is for the most part a fine Christmas charmer. (Ages 7 to 10) --Emilie Coulter
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