A reflection on the intangible gifts of the Christmas season.
In a series of spreads depicting anthropomorphic animal parents and their young, simple lines of text starting with the titular line “If I could give you Christmas” lead into statements evoking small pleasures associated with wintertime or the Yuletide season. “If I could give you Christmas, it would taste like the first falling snowflake,” reads the first spread, for example, and a full-bleed digital illustration shows a lynx holding its kitten up in the air to catch a snowflake on its protruding tongue. Later spreads show various animals receiving “the freshest, pointiest, piney-est tree” or “sharing the brightest twinkling star.” Missed opportunities to link these tableaux visually undermine any sense of cohesion, resulting in a book that could have its pages rearranged with no discernable impact on its contents. The concluding lines shift the address to read, “If YOU could give ME Christmas, there’s something you should know…My favorite gift at Christmas… / …doesn’t have a bow,” and there’s a closing image of a bunny and its child hugging. It’s a treacly ending to a sugary sweet book with little substance to distinguish it from scores of other titles on the Christmas book shelf.
Not a top pick for the giving. (Picture book. 2-5)