by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 & up
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American holidays are the characters in this witty seasonal tale, the second Christmas story collaboration by Reiss and Catrow (How Murray Saved Christmas, not reviewed). Santa has gained weight and is claustrophobic about getting stuck in a chimney during deliveries. The kindly therapist, Doc Holiday, sends Santa off on a cruise for a year to recuperate, and recruits all his other clients to take over Santa’s work. The extensive cast list (unnecessarily all male) includes all the major holidays, from Baby New Year to the Thanksgiving Turkey, with hilarious minor holiday persona as well, each with a particular problem. Christopher Columbus can’t get his directions straight; the April Fool is, of course, a prank-playing fool; and the red-eyed, suspicious Election Day Donkey and Elephant (with butterfly ballots hanging out of their pockets) are stuck on an island recounting their own votes. The story is told in rollicking, sing-song rhyme (recalling the Grinch), full of some very funny, laugh-out-loud ideas, off-beat humor, and sly digs at holiday frippery and foibles. Catrow’s hilarious, cartoon-style watercolors provide additional amusement that will appeal to children, teens, and adults. All his characters are caricatures, including one representing Martin Luther King Day, which may be problematic for some readers or communities. This will work well as a read-aloud for older kids, and of course, as an ideal Christmas gift for any therapist who doesn’t shrink from irreverent humor. (Picture book. 6+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8341-7756-X
Page count: 32pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2002


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