No-one has ever accused me of being mainstream, and reviewing what obviously is a Christmas book in March does not bother me one iota. Christmas is a wonderful time, I for one advocate that we should celebrate it every day. The rest of the world seems fixated on not doing that, which I think is a shame.

One thing that you might not be aware of is the history of carols. We call the Christmas Carols today, but there were actually carols for every major holiday, Easter, and particularly Harvest time, or as it is known in the US Thanksgiving. So I vote we celebrate year round.

All-right, I know I am in the minority, but it is what I am good at 🙂

Marilyn Randall is no stranger to the book world, Elmer is her fourth young children’s book. I enjoyed the other three immensely and just knew I would love this one. If you have yet to experience Marilyn at work, you can find the reviews here, here, and here.

A successful children’s book requires a set of dynamics that to say the least are complex. It is a delicate line that has to join entertainment with education. A children’s book needs to impart a message. It has to turn a complex concept into a series of events that can be easily understood.

Elmer The Christmas Elf does exactly that. It shows that acts of selflessness do indeed come back in unexpected ways. The saying ‘It is better to give than receive’ is very true. Elmer toils endlessly, his joy is in his work. But Elmer also wonders about the little children that receive the efforts of his toils.

It is Christmas Eve, Santa has loaded up the sleigh and is on his way to deliver Elmer’s hard work to children across the world. It is with horror that Elmer discovers that they have missed one toy. A little boy or girl will not get a present! He has no sleigh, and no way to deliver the gift, in fact he does not even know who it belongs to.

I will not spoil the story by telling more, it may just be a young children’s book, but I like to keep some mystery to make people read the tale for themselves.

Marilyn Randall has once again done a wonderful job. I have to admit that I was not sure how this book would come out. In her previous works she has had animals as the main characters, rather than people. She has in fact done an outstanding job with Elmer. And once again she has done her own illustrations. This in itself is a rarity, I can think of very few authors in this genre that wear both the writer and illustrator hats. She also manages to capture the right style of illustration for the age group she is aiming for. That may seem a strange thing to say, but it is a very important aspect. There is a marriage and harmony required between the text and pictures that has to be achieved for a child’s book to work.

You can order your copy of Elmer The Christmas Elf by using the Amazon link above, in fact, I suggest that you order all of her books, you will not be disappointed.

Tomorrow, is the beginning of April, why not celebrate Christmas? In fact I think I will haul the artificial tree out of storage, my wife might moan and groan, but it looks so pretty!

Simon Barrett

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