Undercover Elf

Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 07/04/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Children’s book author Cydnee Brady has always had a flair for words. Over the course of her kids’ childhoods, she added layers to an imaginative and festive story about being one of Santa’s elves, adding excited anticipation to his impending arrival—and instantly believed! Once her grandchildren were born, the story spread to a new generation, and now through her newly published picture book, Undercover Elf, to be shared with children everywhere.
Cydnee believes a great children’s book is one that you can get lost in, where you are in another world that you escape to for a time. She hopes that her story gives families together time and brings happiness and joy that reminds them all year around of the magic of Christmas and Santa, long after the book is closed.
When she isn’t writing humorous holiday stories, Cydnee works as a financial analyst for the Volvo Group, enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren, two kids, and husband of thirty-five years, Dean. She likes to sew, cook, and travel. Cydnee and Dean live with their four dogs in the country in Gibsonville, North Carolina. Undercover Elf is her debut picture book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sheena Monnin for Readers' Favorite

Undercover Elf by Cydnee Brady is a colorful children’s book that tells the exciting story of a little boy’s mom who has a special job she does for Santa Claus. Every year in the months leading up to Christmas, Santa Claus has lots of helpers around the world who live ordinary lives with their families but who also work secretly for Santa. The mom in this story is one of those secret helpers. She is an elf who keeps track of the kids around her city. She knows who has been very good and who has been naughty and she must keep a list of all the children for Santa. She also keeps track of which houses Santa can get in through the chimney, and which houses he has to quietly get in through the door. The story is a fun twist on the young reader’s understanding of Santa's elves.

Undercover Elf by Cydnee Brady is marvelous from start to finish. Any child, or whimsical adult, will enjoy reading about the fun things undercover elves do as they help Santa. The winter holiday season is something kids look forward to and this book captures the spirit of the holidays and the excitement that Santa brings into kids’ lives. I loved the ending where the author awakens the imagination of children even further by saying any of us could be an undercover elf once we turn seventeen, and any of us could have an undercover elf in our family already! The story is enjoyable, positive, and has many ‘feel good’ elements in it!

Jamie Michele

Undercover Elf, written by Cydnee Brady and illustrated by Chuck Sirko, Noah Spencer, and Mason Spencer, is a children's Christmas picture book about a young boy whose mother has a secret job as an elf. One night when the boy gets up for a drink of water, he passes an open door under the stairs with a hidden office. His mother is chatting with her boss, who happens to be Santa Claus. Like other undercover elves, his mother likes to wear red and green, and she has malformed ears. She prepares Santa for houses without chimneys and with pets, she manages a naughty/nice list for her son's school, and she's unusually busy on Christmas Eve. He really misses his mom when she is gone but is happy to know that when he grows up and turns 18, he will get to be an undercover elf also.

Undercover Elf is a good Christmas book for children who have an interest in the different ways that Santa operates in the lead-up to Christmas. There are plenty of picture books that rotate around the life and livelihoods of the crew that supports Father Christmas but Cydnee Brady's is the first I've read that put a mom in the mix. The child who is the son of the undercover elf is extremely excited about his mother's second job and that is palpable in how his narrative is structured. Chuck Sirko is the illustrator alongside Noah and Mason Spencer. The images are designed with sketch and colored pencil and are emblematic of a young child drawing the pictures for the book themselves, tying in with the child-like writing. It's a cute book that is worth a read if the need for something slightly different arises, or for kids who are less interested in the plot but really love unique Christmas-themed books with a behind-the-scene tour.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

What would you do if you found out that one of your parents was an undercover elf for none other than Santa Claus? Sounds pretty cool, huh? This little boy discovered his Mom’s secret cubbyhole under the stairs and caught his Mom working on Santa’s naughty and nice list. Before that, he had no idea. Mom was just like any other Mom: she cooked, cleaned, and helped him with his homework. She had to be really secretive about her Santa work. Once you catch someone working for Santa, the other clues become obvious, like the pointed ears.

Cydnee Brady has written a clever fantasy story for young readers. Undercover Elf is a sweet story that presents a new twist on the Santa and his elves theme. The story is written in simple language so young readers can easily follow along. With bright, bold, and colorful illustrations the plot develops at a steady pace, allowing the reader to enjoy the little boy’s discovery of his elf heritage. When the little boy discovers his Mom’s secret, and the fact that the best hot chocolate can be found at the North Pole, he wants to join her on her next secret mission to the North Pole just before Christmas. But the climax is another secret that only the little boy knows. That’s when secret elves from around the world congregate to share their intel with Santa. This is a beautiful little story that will reignite the enthusiasm and belief in the true magic of Christmas.

Philip Van Heusen

How is it possible for Santa and the North Pole elves to keep up with everything? The elves and Santa are always making toys, checking to see who’s naughty or nice, mapping the Christmas delivery routes, and all the other stuff that must be done. Cydnee Brady knows the answer to this question and shares the secret with us in Undercover Elf. Undercover Elf is a whimsical story about a child who accidentally learns that his mom has a special relationship with Santa Claus. She is one of his many helper elves. Her job is helping to keep up with the naughty or nice children’s lists. This is a cute book to read to/with your child as Christmas approaches. It will help you discuss Christmas and all that goes into making it a fun season.

Would you like to be one of Santa’s secret agent elves? Cydnee Brady thinks that job sounds cool and shares a story about a real secret agent elf. But, of course, secret agents can’t advertise what they do for Santa. They must be undercover, as explained in Undercover Elf. If your mom is one of Santa’s helper elves, you must be especially good, for she has a direct line to Santa. Your mom may be one of his elves, and you do not even know it. So, as this book suggests, be good all the time because Santa’s elves are all around you, watching and working. Children will be delighted to see all the several types of work secret elves do to help make Christmas a success. When I have grandchildren, this book will be on our must-read list.