Bookanista Recommendation: THE ELF ON A SHELF

I’m changing it up a little with today’s Bookanista Recommendation:

From Goodreads: How does Santa really know who is naughty or nice? The answer is finally revealed in… The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. The Elf on the Shelf is a book and activity the entire family will enjoy. Based on the tradition Carol Aebersold began with her family in the 1970s, this cleverly rhymed children’s book explains that Santa knows who is naughty or nice because he sends a scout elf to every home. During the holiday season, the elf watches children by day and reports to Santa each night. When children awake, the elf has returned from the North Pole and can be found hiding in a different location. 

Though my daughter and I read dozens of picture books each month, it’s not often that I take the time to formally recommend the exceptional ones. Still, as a former educator and current mama, I’m a big fan of books that teach a concept or lesson in a clever, nearly invisible manner, and The Elf on a Shelf does just that. While it’s admittedly a little commercial, I’m willing to overlook that because the story and tradition are so much fun. Good behavior, thoughtful deeds, a generous spirit… Fantastic messages to instill this time of year.

The actual The Elf on a Shelf book is adorable. It rhymes, a format that, in my opinion, is always more appealing for read-alouds, and the illustrations are whimsical and colorful. The book explains all of the “rules” of the tradition in a way that’s clear to little ones, and it’s a quick read (yay for quick reads! If you’re a parent, you’ll understand :)). The Elf on a Shelf easily held my daughter’s attention even before I officially introduced the elf.

Ahh, the elf. I bought the optional skirt to make ours a girl (because minus my husband, we’re a house chock full of females), and my daughter decided to name her Alice. Alice is all registered with the North Pole, and every night she flies there to report to Santa on whether my girlie has been naughty or nice (she’s *almost* always nice ♥). When Alice returns each morning, she’s in a new spot, sometimes hidden and sometimes just doing fun or funny things. FYI, I’ve heard of some families who allow their elves to make “mischief” during the night, but that sort of undermines the whole naughty-or-nice aspect of the tradition, so Alice is pretty well-behaved. Anywho, here are a few of the ways my daughter has found her thus far:

Dropping in from the North Pole…

Taking tea with the Beast

Alice is a big reader…

Delivering a special note from Santa Claus…

This one might have been pushing the limits of taste, but my daughter cracked up when she saw Alice’s antics…

Surprise! New Christmas jammies from Alice!

Gosh… I wonder who’s having more fun with this tradition: My girlie or me? 🙂

The Elf on a Shelf — book AND tradition! — get a big RECOMMEND from me.

Does your family have an elf? Tell me about your  Christmas traditions in the comments!

Check out what other Bookanistas are up to today:

Elana Johnson roars for FURY
Shannon Whitney Messenger  marvels at A MILLION SUNS with a preorder giveaway!
Carolina Valdez Miller is all about HERE with giveaway!
Gretchen McNeil twirls for AUDITION
Stasia Ward Kehoe is wild for DON’T BREATHE A WORD
Katy Upperman gets in the spirit with ELF ON A SHELF
Nikki Katz dishes on WHY WE BROKE UP