With a tip of the stocking cap to Amelia Bedelia, Bloch offers a charming Christmas story interwoven with common expressions that can be interpreted in more than one way, illustrated in a refreshing collage style that combines pen-and-ink drawings and photographs.
The first-person story is narrated by a little boy who is preparing for the holiday along with his parents, grandparents, sister and dog. Each page offers a few lines of text including one familiar phrase, highlighted in red or green, along with a humorous illustration playing off the pertinent expression. The boy uses many familiar sayings, like “trim the tree” and “as hungry as a bear,” and others that may be new to children, such as “feeding an army” and “when pigs fly.” Bloch lives in Paris, and he brings a French flair to his illustrations with sophisticated, minimalist pen-and-ink drawings of the human characters in combination with photographic elements, such as playing cards for “deck the halls” and a real sardine can illustrating “packed in like sardines.” The illustrations are creatively composed with effective use of white space, shadows and perspective along with motion and sight gags.As all kids know, “time flies when you’re having fun,” even on Christmas Eve. This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. (Picture book. 4-9)