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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Ruthless the Elf, written by Chad E. Henry and Dakota A. Tallman and illustrated by Lazaro Ruiz, follows the story of Ruthless, an elf initially known for her self-centeredness who is assigned to understand the true spirit of Christmas by fellow elves Shelly and Topper. Guided by head-elf Peaches, Ruthless undertakes a mission to comprehend the importance of altruism. Along the way, she finds herself in Hollywood, dealing with a demanding child star, Miss CeCe Gayle. Ruthless surprises everyone with her ability to manage the situation, displaying newfound kindness. After additional adventures, including a trip to Switzerland to address a bullying incident, Ruthless returns to the North Pole transformed. She offers a sincere apology to Becky, the baker elf. The story concludes with Ruthless embracing her new role, her growth, and being acknowledged for her endearing qualities by her fellow elves.
Children's fiction always benefits from imparting moral lessons, and Ruthless the Elf, by Chad E. Henry and Dakota A. Tallman, effectively teaches the significance of empathy and the consequences of one's actions. My youngest reader liked Ruthless' genuine remorse for hurting Becky's feelings and her effort to make amends. As a parent, I appreciated the message of learning from mistakes and growing into a better person. The illustrations by Lazaro Ruiz are full-scale and use a bold Christmas color palette of reds and greens along with muted jewel tones to round out the scheme. The messaging is good, the Christmas details make it special, and I had fun reading it.