Merrytale (An Abrams Trail Tale): A Christmas Adventure

Abrams/Appleseed. Sept. 2022. 54p. Board $15.99. ISBN 9781419731549.
PreS–On Christmas Eve, two young Black children receive an invitation to visit Santa’s Workshop. During the elf-led tour, the children visit the busy toy workshop before zipping down the peppermint slide—past two short-haired elves kissing under mistletoe, elves performing yoga, and a group of elves singing—to land in the wrapping room. The children then tiptoe through the elves’ sleeping quarters on their way to the stable. There, they feed the animals before goodbyes are said and the children fly back to their home with Santa. In the quadruple gatefold at the end of the book, the children open their presents while Santa, flying away in his sleigh, wishes all a Merry Christmas. The cartoon artwork is sweet and colorful and features racially diverse elves. Readers who look closely will see an elf with what may be vitiligo, another in a wheelchair, and many with various hair colors, including blue and pink. The pages are so busy with illustrations that this title is akin to an “I Spy” book. The entire text is composed of one sentence, and though the words do change colors from one page to the next, they can be hard to follow through the multitude of gatefolds, flaps, and die-cuts.
VERDICT A fun presentation with wonderful artwork. Recommended for gentle-handed users.

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