written by Jean-François Faucher
illustrated by Martin Aubry
translated by Valerie Anderson
Heure du conte, 2015
Witty and beautifully illustrated, A Close Call for Christmas is guaranteed to brighten your Holiday season.
Picture the scene: it’s two days before Christmas and Slush, the hyperactive little elf who runs around wrapping all of Santa’s presents, has already finished his work for the year. Not sure what to do with all this unexpected free time, Slush doesn’t take long to press the biggest red button he can find on the Transformagift, a magical machine in Santa’s workshop.
“Rays of light shone out of the machine and lit up the room in a kaleidoscope of colours that bounced off in all directions.”
It’s a disaster! Slush has accidentally transformed Santa Claus into… Baby Claus!
Baby Claus might be cute, but there’s lots to be done if Christmas is to be saved in time, and the elves quickly get to work on a magic potion to restore him to his former, jelly-bellied self. Mayhem and Christmas magic ensue.
The imagery is bright and alive—an elf drives “like the North wind,” for instance, while the videogame-loving elf is named Geëk—but it is the illustrations that threaten to steal the show in what quickly becomes a round-the-world adventure that involves Rudolf (naturally!) and even Santa’s mysterious twin brother, Brother Christmas.
Will the elves manage to save Christmas? There’s only one way to find out.
Review by Peter McCambridge