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The scary-tale-telling Grandpa of Grandpa's Ghost Stories pulls a holiday switch in this one, setting a typical Halloween adventure on Christmas Eve and ending it with a rescue by Santa Claus. It starts with Grandpa as a child hurrying home through the woods, smack into a confluence of witches at a spot called Witches' Crossroads. Showing off to each other, they transform Grandpa into a snake, a turkey buzzard, and then a pig, which he remains as he runs off . . . and runs into an owl who says she's a little girl named Ida May, similarly transformed. Together they go to witch Peggoty, hoping she'll relent because it's Christmas. Instead she pops pig Grandpa into a pot of water, and he is hopping with the heat by the time Ida May returns with Santa, who squeezes some Christmas spirit into Peggoty by grabbing her around the neck. (We see her face turn green.) ""I love you, Santa,"" little Grandpa says. ""I love you too,"" Santa replies. And at the end Grandma, whose name is Ida May, tells her grandchild that nothing of the kind ever happened. Just the same, says the grandson, ""It was a grand story. I think my grandpa is the nicest grandpa in the whole world."" With these thumping strokes and the similarly heavy pictures, this is worlds away from the laid-back tall tales of Stevenson's Grandpa (below). Flora's leg-pulling consists of the shuffling of the holidays, but no synergy results from the juxtaposition. Those who responded to Grandpa's Ghost Stories might enjoy this as a break from the usual, softer Christmas fare--or they might prefer to give each holiday its due.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum