Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Review - Deck the Walls

Deck the Walls
by Erin Dealey
illustrated by Nick Ward
Date: 2013
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la la. How wonderful the old carol sounds. A vision of warm family gatherings peacefully celebrating the holiday season comes to mind. But wait, this doesn’t sound like a peaceful family get-together. What is happening here? Deck the walls with mashed potatoes! Fa la la la la la la la la. Make a snowman with tomatoes. Fa la la la la la la la la. Author Erin Dealey has taken the old holiday classic and turned it on its head. In her riotous, raucous rendition of a family meal gone hilariously awry, you’ll find food hockey, vegetable sculptures, crashing dishes, and grown-ups wondering what has gone wrong. From “Feed the dog our peas and carrots” to “Food tastes better when you wear it,” readers young and old will never forget this new take on an old holiday carol!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. Are the kids misbehaving? Yes. But, to be fair, it's Christmas and they're probably full of sugar and adrenaline. Some of the kids' antics actually reminded me of past holiday celebrations with my own cousins, including one that ended with a cry of, "Grandma! There's ketchup on the curtains!"

The text is based on the traditional song "Deck the Halls", but most of the words have been changed to reflect a modern, Western family Christmas celebration. The kids play with their food and make messes, complain about their boring aunts and uncles, and spend time outside, always grateful that they have each other.

The illustrations are quite cute. There's plenty of humour and personality in the characters.

Sheet music for the original song and a recipe for sugar cookies are included at the back of the book.

I read this as an e-book, and from the very beginning, there were problems with formatting the text for the "fa la la" bits; there were never enough syllables, and on some pages the words were scattered willy-nilly. These problems also extended to the recipe, rendering it useless, as there appeared to be chunks of instructions missing. I'm not going to take any points off for that, because it's probably not an issue with other formats. Just be aware of this if you decide to go for the e-book edition.

Quotable moment:

Olive hockey with the cousins.
Fa la la la la
la la la la

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.86 out of 5

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