This must be a first: recognition that there are family relatives who get on one another's nerves when they gather for obligatory conviviality. Alf (who comes from a family shaped like dogs that move like people and have idiosyncratically lopsided, expressive faces) has a particular nemesis--his cousin Mert, who plays tricks on him and shows off for the indulgent grown-ups till Alf is driven to retaliation. Result: being sent to his room on both Thanksgiving and Christmas and ending up with the wrong present. Wood neatly varies her incidents and builds to an appropriate conclusion: All gets his present back at New Year's and finally gets even with Mert, but even this is a flawed victory--that's just the way it is in these holiday conflicts. Refreshingly realistic.