This parody of “The Night Before Christmas” has a zoo setting, with an orangutan called Oranga Claus as Santa’s counterpart.
The cover shows the orangutan in his loaded sleigh midflight, but instead of reindeer, the sleigh is pulled by zebras. As the story opens with the traditional words, the focus is on the zookeeper, a middle-aged white man with glasses, hanging stockings in preparation for Oranga Claus. The zoo animals are sound asleep, “cuddled together” in a congenial cluster, with the monkeys tucked up in tree-hung beds, dreaming “of yummy bananas that danced in their heads.” The zebra-drawn sleigh arrives, and Oranga Claus distributes gifts for all. The orangutan wears a too-small vest and shorts, setting up the concluding punch line of the story when Oranga Claus calls out a farewell phrase to the zookeeper, “Ooka moo moo la goo.” The zookeeper repeats this phrase to the animals on Christmas morning, thinking it means, “Merry Christmas to you.” The final page shows Oranga Claus opening his own Christmas gift of a larger suit of clothes, with the true meaning of his words: “My clothes are too tight.” The parody holds together and is mildly humorous in its own way, with bright, cartoon-style illustrations of smiling zoo animals and the decorated zoo providing a determinedly jolly setting.
There are many excellent parodies of the famous Christmas poem available, and this one isn’t particularly novel or hilarious. (Picture book. 4-7)