Six curious little episodes--barely tales--in a large (8Â« x 11Â«) picture-book format with sleek, theatrical illustrations. In the first and most mundane, a scarecrow laments his plight (""I'm out in all kinds of weather. My clothes are a mess. It's lonely too""), then rejoices when the birds unexpectedly (and inexplicably) gather on his snow-covered form. The second finds Mrs. Claus playing the discontented housewife one year (""Let me help you deliver the presents. It's time I saw something of the world""); and then, the next year, taking over Santa's delivery route--after chiding him for his inadequacy. The outcome? The hitherto-unseen Christmas turkey bolts out the window, bent on ""seeing something of the world"" too. Elsewhere a beetle (""Want! Want! Want!"") happens on a chocolate log; Santa, mistaking an ogre's ear for a chimney, somehow clambers down to his heart and, festooning it with ribbons, somehow transmits ""the spirit of Christmas""; some mice are saved from a predatory cat by the sudden appearance of ""a most ferocious and fearless mouse in shining armor""--whose wind-up key unlocks, for a mouse couple, ""warm memories of their first Christmas together."" Only one, involving the adornment of forest trees (instead of the town's perfect specimen), grows from the experience and emotions of Christmas; virtually all the rest are contrivances that turn on word-play and one-liners.