A retelling of the seasonal Dickens tale, complete with movable parts.
It’s tempting to want to share classics with children, and this board book pulls out all the stops to make the time-honored tale palatable to young listeners. Putting aside its sliders and spinners (none of which work very well), there stands the question of whether small children really need this book. Although the complex story has been decently condensed and simplified, it remains long and wordy to read aloud. This puts it well out of the realm of tolerance for the board-book crowd, though it may suit as an introduction for those elementary-aged kids who won’t be put off by the babyish format. Direct quotes sprinkled throughout are appropriate and iconic, but the story has an intensity simply not suited for the audience. High-level concepts and vocabulary are referenced, requiring so much preexisting knowledge (of boarding schools; spirits; the eventuality of death) that most of it will go over the heads of younger readers. Attractive vintage-style art looks swell and capitalizes on the best scenes, including a truly “scrumptious feast,” a not-too-spooky Jacob Marley, and a sprightly Ghost of Christmas Past, but the ambitious paper engineering does not work well. Slats and tabs are nearly impossible to pull out smoothly, while the wheels are hard to grip and turn.
Ultimately mostly just humbug.(Board book. 2-4)