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From the Stories From the Music Box series

by Clement C. Moore ; illustrated by Raquel Martín

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-4197-5490-6
Publisher: Magic Cat

Thanks to a windup mechanism, Moore’s holiday poem gets a jingly “Deck the Halls” for accompaniment.

To go with the Christmas chestnut, Martin goes for a relentlessly classic look with Victorian-style interiors, a tubby White Santa in a red suit, White parents in full nightclothes (one holding a lit candle as she bends over her sleeping urchin), and old-fashioned toys scattered all about. In a cutout corner a small lever is labeled with an invitation to “Wind and Play!”—which is easier said than done, as the interior spring is thick enough to give even Superman trouble getting past five or six turns. The tinkly version of the carol also leaves out the musical repetition of the first two lines, so singing along is out, and since it only runs about 20 seconds at full speed (slowing down as the spring unwinds), it has plenty of time to become monotonous over the three or so minutes it takes to read the verses aloud. The music-box mechanism is housed in a one-inch-thick box affixed to the back cover that makes the flimsy pages of the actual book feel like an afterthought. Still, parents seeking some gift that doesn’t have a screen or require batteries may see some appeal.

No batteries needed, but it’s a stale nonstarter in every other way.

(Holiday novelty. 5-7)