Published: October 24, 2013
Pages: 40 (According to Goodreads)
'Jingles the Elephant Saves Christmas' is about a young & hopeful African elephant named Jingles (due to the jingle bell on his hat) who earnestly dreams of leading Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. Jingles crashes and burns (literally) trying to defy gravity, making him the subject of laughter among the other animals. Even though no one believes in him, Jingles refuses to let go of his dream. One Christmas Eve, a visitor arrives to the village who may help Jingles' dream come true! With 39 pages and 40 full-color illustrations, 'Jingles the Elephant Saves Christmas' will be a perfect addition to any young child's holiday reading selection.
When I was searching for free Christmas books on Amazon, this is one of the books that came up, twice, so I one-clicked both editions just to check and see if the story was the same. It is. The book is no longer free on Amazon unless you have Kindle Unlimited. I would personally not pay the kindle price for this book, but would instead buy the paperback version which is less than thirty cents more. Not that I'm saying it's not worth the price, but where you can get the physical copy for less than thirty cents more, that would be a more appealing route for me since it's a children's book, and my kids at least seem to really like pulling out books and flipping through the pages.
As you can see from the covers, there are two editions for this book. One with a white Santa and one with a black Santa (these terms come from the books as titled on Amazon and Goodreads). I imagine that greatly broadens the books appeal, although I wonder why the author didn't branch out more with an Asian Santa and a Latino Santa as well. The raging feminist in me would like a female Santa too, but I don't think the beard would look very good on her. Can you imagine how many copies he would likely sell to extreme feminists if he went that route though? But I digress.
This story mostly rhymes, although towards the end of the book the rhyming scheme gets very awkward. I personally prefer my children's books to maintain the same rhyming pattern throughout the book, and this one doesn't do that. I'm a fairly good sight-reader, easily picking up on meter as I read, but the ending of this book tripped me up and I merely stumbled through it. There was also one segment, like a refrain in a song, that was repeated several times, and to me it felt unnecessarily redundant, even for a children's book.
The language in the book is mostly simple, although the author does use a few big terms (pachyderm, Aurora Borealis) that small children would not be familiar with, providing a great learning opportunity.
The illustrations are fairly simple, but well done. They are cute and some are a little bit silly. I particularly liked the one of Jingles' parents trying to explain to him why he can't possibly fly, although I'm sure the picture would fly right over most children's heads.
Overall this was a pretty good children's book, but because of the awkward rhyming pattern change towards the end, it gets 4 out of 5 stars. I would still definitely recommend this book to anyone with small children, regardless of which edition you choose. - Katie
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