Rosalinde Bonnet's illustrations are adorable. The introductions of the characters show each of them in turn, a full-body standing shot next to an image of them working hard or hardly working. The reindeer is snoozing in the straw, dreaming of carrots; the penguin is blowing bubbles in the bathtub while a rubber ducky floats in the water; the hare is asleep by the fireplace (with great alliteration: "The hare liked to hibernate by the hearth"); and the little red elf is putting teddy bears together and boxing them up, all by herself.
I've been calling myself the Little Red Hen since I was a child and first heard the original tale. I'm a hard worker, and I do a lot of work myself rather than relying on others to do their fair share of the work or asking for help. (It is extremely difficult for me to ask for help.) Therefore, I was quite happy when I received this book. I saw myself in the elf not only because she was a version of the Little Red Hen, but also because her outfit was somewhat similar to a costume I wore in a musical a few years ago. (Bonus points to Bonnet having the elf's brown hair split evenly into two low ponytails.) The enthusiastic elf is always happy to help others, and she is able to get things done all by herself. You go, girl!
Happily, this book met my high expectations. McGrath and Bonnet have put a delightful, wintery spin on the classic story of The Little Red Hen, creating a great picture book to read and share year-round.
Someone remind me to write a review of Herself the Elf, please!