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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Way up north there is a magical, secret place where elves are busy all year long, making gifts for children around the world. There are all kinds of elves in Santa’s workshop: small elves, big elves, white-skinned and dark-skinned, red-haired and brown-haired, those who can walk and those who need a wheelchair. They all have their special skills: some are engineers, others are artists. It doesn’t matter what they look like or what they can do, Santa loves them all and they’re part of one big family. A happy family, most of the time. But Castor isn’t happy. He’s feeling left out, as if he’s the only one without a family because he hasn’t been given a family name – yet. Everyone else has one. And when an elf is unhappy, there is no joy in the toys he creates and wraps. Santa’s elves must make and wrap their toys with joy. So, you’ve been asked to help. Are you up to the task?
L.L. Walters’ early chapter book for young readers, Elves Up North: A Family for Castor, is a special story with a special message about families and belonging. Young readers will especially enjoy this story because it’s written in a rarely used voice: the second person. You, the reader, are the main character and you, the reader, are repeatedly asked if you’re up to the task. Are you? Are you a believer? Believing is important; it’s part of the joy of Christmas. There are a few illustrations that help the plot evolve. Elves Up North is a charming story, with believable characters and a powerful message about the love behind Christmas. Very cleverly written and developed.