“ ’Tis the season to be jolly,” after all, and this rollicking parody neatly fits the bill.

DECK THE WALLS

A WACKY CHRISTMAS CAROL

This hilarious parody of the familiar Yuletide carol starts with mashed potatoes on the walls and ends with cousins sliding downhill in the snow and the whole family singing carols together.

The traditional Christmas song of “Deck the Halls” has a buoyant rhythm but relatively sedate words and images, such as boughs of holly. This version features a group of five cousins who like to mix things up and enjoy their food in some nontraditional ways. As the song begins, the cousins are mashing potatoes, flipping blobs onto the walls. The kids make a snowman out of tomatoes and more mashed potatoes and try olives on their fingers and celery stalks behind their ears. As the family dinner disintegrates, the cousins play olive hockey with celery-stalk sticks; major splashes of gravy result before sensible aunts and uncles intervene. Each line of text is interspersed with the traditional refrain of “Fa la la la la, la la la la” in large type, and the new song lyrics can be sung to the old tune, following along in suitably merry measure. Amusing illustrations and a large format make this a fine choice for singing along with a group, and the traditional words and music are also included.

“ ’Tis the season to be jolly,” after all, and this rollicking parody neatly fits the bill. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58536-857-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

SLUG IN LOVE

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard.

THE HALLOWEEN TREE

A grouchy sapling on a Christmas tree farm finds that there are better things than lights and decorations for its branches.

A Grinch among the other trees on the farm is determined never to become a sappy Christmas tree—and never to leave its spot. Its determination makes it so: It grows gnarled and twisted and needle-less. As time passes, the farm is swallowed by the suburbs. The neighborhood kids dare one another to climb the scary, grumpy-looking tree, and soon, they are using its branches for their imaginative play, the tree serving as a pirate ship, a fort, a spaceship, and a dragon. But in winter, the tree stands alone and feels bereft and lonely for the first time ever, and it can’t look away from the decorated tree inside the house next to its lot. When some parents threaten to cut the “horrible” tree down, the tree thinks, “Not now that my limbs are full of happy children,” showing how far it has come. Happily for the tree, the children won’t give up so easily, and though the tree never wished to become a Christmas tree, it’s perfectly content being a “trick or tree.” Martinez’s digital illustrations play up the humorous dichotomy between the happy, aspiring Christmas trees (and their shoppers) and the grumpy tree, and the diverse humans are satisfyingly expressive.

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7335-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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