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*Santa's Littlest Helper* by Anu Stohner, illustrated by Henrike Wilson

Also by Anu Stohner and Henrike Wilson:

Brave Charlotte and the Wolves

Santa's Littlest Helper Travels the World
Santa's Littlest Helper
by Anu Stohner, illustrated by Henrike Wilson
ages 4-8 32 pages Bloomsbury USA October 2004 Hardcover    

Originally published in Germany (from where many of our most dear Christmas traditions come), Anu Stohner and Henrike Wilson's Santa's Little Helper takes on a frustrating childhood dilemma: being told you're too small to do something you really want to do.

Now Santa's littlest helper isn't a child, but he is extraordinarily small - and extraordinarily determined. Every year he is the first in the snowy village where Santa and his many helpers live to get a tree from the great forest, first to clean his sleigh, first to have his presents (toys he makes himself) wrapped and ready, first to have his Christmas baking done. But every year, the Chief Helper tells him (while the other helpers jeer at his size) that he can't come on the yearly journey because he is too small - "perhaps next year."

Out in the quiet forest for a lonely walk after the other helpers have gone, the littlest helper hears voices - the animals, complaining that only humans ever get presents. Suddenly, the littlest helper has something he can do. And do it he does, showering all the animals with their very first yuletide gifts. To the animals - and to the returning helpers - he is a hero, just as important as his bigger co-helpers, every year.

Wilson's soft-edged and simple but bold illustrations carry readers through Anna Trenter's English translation of Anu Stohner's story on a wave of smudged color, and the whole package reaches a conclusion sure to satisfy the littlest helper in any family - that no matter your size, you can make a difference.

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