The Christmas sprytes return in this second rhyming lesson about proper holiday behavior.
Little Patrick has no qualms about pulling open packages left under the tree two weeks before Christmas. But the blond-haired, blue-eyed toddler is in for a surprise when Adam P. Bobby of the Peeking Police shows up in his Christmas tree. The spryte, also blond but green-eyed and slender with rosy cheeks and pointed ears, scolds the naughty child. If Patrick doesn’t change his ways, “a bundle of switches is your present this year,” the spryte asserts. As in Crighton’s (The Christmas Spryte Encounter: Bad Behavior, 2017) previous installment, Santa’s messenger waffles between sharp anger at the bad behavior and a sympathetic sadness at its consequences. Patrick asks for Adam’s advice and, with a salute, promises to never peek again. Meanwhile, the sprite uses his magic to rewrap all the presents Patrick attacked. While the rhymes throughout scan well, mimicking the rhythm to the classic The Night Before Christmas, the vocabulary may overwhelm young independent readers and lap listeners (“wrath,” “evoking,” “perturbed,” and “pursed” all appear on the same page). Audiences unfamiliar with what APB and bobby mean will miss the humor of Adam’s initials and the reference to London police officers. The uncredited cartoon illustrations nicely reflect the picture book’s text and tone.
Parents seeking ways to improve their children’s conduct around Christmas may find this a worthwhile tale.