Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Review - Only You Can Save Christmas!

Only You Can Save Christmas!
by Adam Wallace
illustrated by Garth Bruner
Date: 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

It's Christmas Eve, and Santa needs YOUR help in this fun, interactive picture book from the New York Times bestselling author of How to Catch an Elf!

It's Christmas Eve, and everything at the North Pole is going according to plan...until an elf discovers that Santa doesn't have a present ready for Mrs. Claus! Time is running out, and you're the only one who can help. But you'll have to honk, whistle, wiggle, and shake to make things turn out all right.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book has a similar premise to Bill Cotter's Don't Push the Button! series. But, in this case, the main character is a rather stupid elf who's obviously never heard the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and mistakes it for Santa's shopping list for his wife. That's only the beginning of the flawed premise. There's a big rush to collect all the presents because Santa's sleigh is leaving in fifteen minutes. Now, wait a minute; why do presents for Mrs. Claus need to be on Santa's sleigh in the first place? Doesn't she live at the North Pole with Santa? So he's just going to haul those gifts all over the world for no reason?

Some of the pictures are cute (I got a kick out of the calling--sorry, texting birds), but others are a bit disturbing. When Wink the elf couldn't find turtle doves, he found turtles instead, and rode them back to the sleigh while standing on their backs. They were both wearing metal collars with ropes, and one had its tongue hanging out like it was choking. I have no idea what that was doing in a children's book.

Finding the French hens, however, was what really turned me off. Wink tells us that "wee" means "yes" in French, so he asks kids to shout "wee wee wee wee wee wee" to find some French hens. I get that this is phonetic, but it's going to be insulting to French speakers to have that word equated with pee. (Plus, it basically makes the book suitable only for American children. French is widely spoken around the world, including here in Canada. I can tell you that if we, as kids, came across a book that told us that "wee" means "yes", we would've been the first to call it out. Use the correct spelling, or find a different way to find the French hens, please.)

Immediately after this, I read Don't Push the Button!: A Christmas Adventure, and while that story is much simpler, I thought it was the better of the two books (especially if you're already a fan of the Don't Push the Button! series). I'd recommend giving Only You Can Save Christmas! a pass.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.67 out of 5

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