Following a previous military-themed Christmas parody, The Soldiers’ Night Before Christmas (2006), this sequel offers a similar celebration, set this time aboard a U.S. Navy ship.
The young sailor who narrates the story is standing watch on Christmas Eve on the tower of an aircraft carrier. The other sailors are “nestled all snug in their racks / Like orders of pancakes, so tight were the stacks.” Suddenly the night’s peace is interrupted by the arrival of a Seahawk helicopter, a squadron of Hornet fighter jets and a submarine full of SEALs. Next, a cargo plane lands on deck, spilling out a load of presents and Master Chief Claus, a barrel-chested, lantern-jawed leader with definite command presence. His eight assistants fill up sea bags with gifts for all the sailors aboard, and along with Master Chief Claus, they fill a stocking for each sailor and cover each one with a homemade quilt, “every stitch set with love.” The text follows the familiar pattern of “The Night Before Christmas” with overall success, though a couple of rhymes run aground. Bold paintings in a loose style bring all the naval personnel to life and capture the drama of the ships and aircraft arriving on this busy Christmas Eve.
Young readers who like ships and planes will be drawn to this setting, and anyone with a connection to the U.S. Navy would be pleased to find this under the Christmas tree. (Picture book. 4-8)