**A WINNER IN THE NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL**
Flea has always been different from other students in school. He’s not smart or athletic, he’s shorter than kids five years younger than him and his facial features are so pointy that everyone avoids him. His foster mother constantly warns him to avoid attention, though Flea has no idea who’s after them. But Flea has recently discovered several abilities that change his life forever: snowy weather follows him wherever he goes, he stops snowballs in mid-flight and he builds anything in shop class in the matter of minutes despite his lack of training. An appearance on The Great Build-Off – a popular construction game show – leads him to a magical place he thought existed only in Christmas stories.
At the North Pole, Flea feels even more like an outsider. In fact, this storybook village reminds him of every school he’d ever attended, complete with overachievers and underachievers, popular elves and outcasts, even elves who aren’t afraid to march to their own beat. But during his training to become a proper builder elf, he discovers that the North Pole has an arch-nemesis bent on invading the elfish lands and ending Christmas forever. With a war looming against the South Pole, Flea’s sudden appearance at the North Pole is no coincidence, as he questions his role in the fate of the world’s greatest holiday.
“The North Pole Challenge” is not your typical Christmas story. Everyone knows about Santa Claus, his elves and the North Pole but this book provides a fresh outlook on the old familiar tales. Imagine Santa Claus as a reclusive loner, Rudolph as a narcissistic whiner, the elves as cruel party animals. And no great story would be complete without an enemy of epic proportions, another familiar Christmas name with a wicked past never before told…
REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 4 months
MAY CONTAIN SPOILER:
This book was a slow-paced book filled with tons of mystery and questions unanswered to keep you on the edge of your seat! This novel was fun to read and I loved how it wasn't really a Christmas story, but that it involved the North Pole and the South Pole. Also that it involved the mysterious armies and enemies ran by the evil Jack Frost. I just loved this book for those reasons!
This book is about an elf named Flea. At first in this story Flea doesn't know that he is an elf, but he knows how to build anything and everything extremely well! Flea also finds out that he is great with snow. His shop teacher, Mr. Strick, gets him on the show, The Great Build-Off, but Flea's foster mom won't allow him to go on it because of unknown reasons to keep him hidden from bad people! However, Flea goes to the show anyway. After the show, some one gives him a gold ring and at 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve he puts the ring on and ends up in the North Pole. At the North Pole, he makes friends, learns tons of secrets and learns that he is a danger to Christmas and the North Pole. He also finds out that he is possibly related to Santa Clause!
My favorite character is Minko because he is a great friend to Flea and always is energetic and super happy even if everyone else in the North Pole doesn't like him because he can't build things. I would love to have someone like him as my friend!
My favorite part is when Flea, Minko and Rome watch Santa's sleigh be unveiled. I love this part because all of them are together and they all are enjoying the last few minutes together.
This book was a big adventure, but I wish it was a faster paced book and that it would answer some of the unanswered questions because sometimes while reading this book I wanted to know more about the main character, Flea. Overall the book was quite enjoyable.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 and up.