Reviews for Great Christmas Crisis

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Santa goes undercover in his workshop to find out why his elves are so worn-out. The trouble, he discovers, is their workload. His fix? Stretch out the days and make room for laughter. Norman borrows "The Night Before Christmas" form to mostly good effect, but the meter isn't perfect. Thick glossy pages feature digital illustrations with comical North Pole details.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
Another story in a long string of similar tales about difficulties with the elf staff at the North Pole. This time the elves are "bickering, / blaming and bleating" due to mechanical difficulties and supply shortages. Santa Claus goes on an undercover research mission in the workshop by shrinking himself down to elf size (though he doesn't bother to change his suit from red to green). He finds that the elves are suffering from pressure to work faster from their zealous foreman. Santa institutes a more relaxed pace with massages and joke-telling sessions, but then the staff falls even further behind. At the suggestion of Mrs. Claus, they use their chimney enlarger machine to stretch out the days before Christmas to get their work done. A large format with heavy, coated pages implies quite a young audience, but the concepts of a heavy workload leading to stress and time expansion are more suited to an older audience. Computer-generated illustrations provide amusing views of the busy elves, including both male and female helpers of many skin tones. The story is told in cleverly rhymed quatrains set in curved text blocks that flow within the illustrations in a pleasing manner. These overworked elves don't crack any new ice, but their story is entertaining enough for holiday reading in those busy days before Santa's arrival. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2

Santa Claus (or at least author Norman) has been watching Undercover Boss. When things start to go awry at the toy workshop in the weeks before Christmas, Santa disguises himself as an elf to investigate: "I'll search all about,/ in this cap and goatee,/ for trouble the elves/ might not share when I'm me." Turns out that "an extra-long ‘nice' list" and some overdue R&R are to blame: cue the massages, yoga classes, and "ho ho" jokes (the North Pole equivalent of knock-knock jokes). Norman's verse tips its hat to Moore's "The Night Before Christmas," and Ho's sunny cartoons are further enhanced by embossing and glossy accents. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

PreS-Gr 3--A versified look at trouble at the North Pole as pre-Christmas stress causes everyone to lose sight of the joys and fun of the season. Santa discovers that the elves are working so hard that they aren't having fun; the solution is to stretch the hours in the days and tell jokes while working. Shiny digital cartoon illustrations are full of action and primitive detail but, like the text, are working too hard to be either humorous or appealing. The message is heavy-handed and the story lacks the joy it intends to convey.--Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library

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