The little red elf is used to doing everything herself while her friends the reindeer, the penguin, and the hare laze around the workshop. It comes as no surprise that her cheerful requests for help preparing for Christmas are quickly dismissed. “‘Who will help me put out milk and cookies?’ ‘Not I,’ said the reindeer. ‘Why bother saying yes now?’ said the penguin. ‘I’m allergic,’ said the hare.” On Christmas morning, however, everyone is more than eager to assist in opening presents. Bonnet’s more-than-helpful illustrations give an extra-festive boost to McGrath’s already spirited version of a familiar tale. Even at their cheekiest, the reindeer, penguin, and hare look friendly and cuddly. The little red elf’s “most positive of attitudes” shines through in the text and art, but the pictures also hint that, like her predecessor, she’s no chump. Speaking of whom, the little red hen herself makes a cameo appearance in the poetically just ending.
—The Horn Book