‘Elf’ author makes local appearance

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elves are usually found piecing together presents at the NorthPole, but lately they have been spotted in the homes of Brookhavenfamilies anxiously awaiting the arrival of Saint Nick.

Families and fans of the popular children’s book, “The Elf onthe Shelf: A Christmas Tradition,” patiently waited to grab anautograph and picture with co-author Chanda Bell Saturday eveningat The Finishing Touch on Brookway Boulevard.

The book tells the story of how elves watch over children duringthe holiday season and report back to Santa Claus about theirnaughty or nice behavior. However, the magical story is only halfthe fun.

“Our little elf is mischievous,” said Dallas Brown, who enjoysreading the book with his 6-year-old child. “You never know whereyou’ll find the little guy.”

What Brown was referring to is perhaps what has kept the bookpopular since its beginning in 2005.

With the book comes an elf, which comes to life and becomes ascout for Claus after its adoptive family names their new friend.The elf will then appear each morning in a new location.

Brown mentioned his elf has been known to peek from the top ofthe family’s ceiling fan and thinks the elf could be found holdinga rod and reel near the fishing tank in the future.

“It’s great fun,” said Brown. “It’s a good conversation piece; Icompare with my co-workers where the elf has been.”

Some parents have even found the book to be a useful tool duringthe stressful holiday season.

“I’m hoping it’ll give them something to get excited aboutChristmas,” said Tammie Gibson, who was waiting to get the family’sfirst elf. “I hope it’ll give them a reason to behave.”

As children enjoy waking every morning to discover where theirfriend is hiding, parents hope to create magic that will continuefor generations.

“I think what people like about it is what I like about it as amom,” said Bell. “That is the simplicity of a familytradition.”

Bell said that growing up she had an elf that watched over herand Carol Aebersold, Bell’s mother and co-author, had an elf thatreported on her behavior as well. Bell added that it is thefamily’s long familiarity with elves that helped inspire thebook.

In today’s technologically advanced world, Bell thinks the bookis unique by requiring children to be creative.

“With this they’re imagining what the elf is doing back at theNorth Pole,” said Bell. “So, I think it’s really special.”

As Santa’s little helpers make more and more appearances aroundBrookhaven, the elves have also made quite the impression acrossthe country.

“We just found out we’re No. 3 on USA Today’s best sellerslist,” said Bell. “Pretty neat for a self-published book.”