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by Tony Medina, illustrated by Chandra Cox

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-58430-024-8
Publisher: Lee & Low

Medina (DeShawn Days, p. 868, etc.) offers a misguided Christmas story that is an obvious message to young readers: stop being so materialistic and share the wealth, and go vegetarian while you’re at it. A young African-American boy is thinking ahead to the joys of Christmas: extra cartoons during vacation, extra sweets, a huge Christmas tree, and “presents piled to the moon.” In a head-spinning, unmotivated change of heart, he suddenly feels sorry for the pigs and turkeys headed for Christmas dinner tables and for all the chopped-down trees. (“How could we pray and sing and wish for nice good things when trees are chopped down for us to hang bulbs and lights on them?”) The narrator convinces his friends to share their presents with others less fortunate and to distribute clothing and soup (made with vegetarian broth, we hope) to the homeless, under the banner of “Welcome to the New Santa Festival.” A plump pig with a red ribbon around its neck and a jolly turkey join all the children of the neighborhood as they dance around a decorated (and presumably still living) Christmas tree, with the final spread showing the narrator himself flying over the new world order in Santa’s sled, minus Santa and the elves. In her publishing debut, Cox provides bright, mixed-media collage illustrations in attractive double-page spreads, but cheery art never saves a dreary story. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-6)