Six wintry smurfisodes making their first appearances on this side of the Atlantic feature the usual cast of blue-skinned gnomes and their hapless nemesis, Gargamel.
A story of one Christmas Eve that Gargamel nearly ruins by hijacking Santa’s sleigh and another in which he actually receives some gifts bookend the collection. In between, Papa Smurf uses a book of Nostrasmurfus prophecies to trick an illiterate troll; animate snowpeople inadvertently lead Gargamel to the Smurfs’ village but then save it; Lazy Smurf nods off with a hibernating dormouse, both of whom are rescued from a hunter; and Lumberjack Smurf battles a dragon to save an elf who has been turned into a talking Christmas tree. Even young eyes may strain to make out the small, if bright blue, figures and cramped lines of dialogue in the sequential panels. Furthermore, not only does Gargamel come in for a wince-worthy amount of physical and emotional abuse, but Papa Smurf ends up burning his book. Still, the tales have at least nostalgic value, and the plots are not only lickety-split but well-supplied with altered but recognizable holiday songs (“Santa Claus is smurfing to town…”) and other quips.
Grinch-weary readers in particular may be smurfertained. (Graphic stories. 6-8)