Friday, December 14, 2018

Review - A Very Babymouse Christmas

A Very Babymouse Christmas (Babymouse #15)
by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
Date: 2011
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Reading level: MG
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 96
Format: e-book
Source: library

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for . . . Babymouse. The holidays are here and everyone's enjoying their favorite traditions—eating latkes, decorating for Kwanza, singing holiday songs, and most of all, being with family. Well, everyone except Babymouse. Babymouse only has one thing on her mind—PRESENTS!!! And whether she has to face down the ghosts of mean girls past or outsmart Santa himself, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure she gets the present she wants. Will Babymouse find a whiz-bang under the tree? Will she learn the true meaning of the holidays? And what do you get for a narrator, anyway? Find out in A Very Babymouse Christmas, the 15th graphic novel in the hilarious, award-winning Babymouse series!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

My first introduction to this character was actually in the picture book Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes, which I actually liked more (but only slightly). I do not like this character! She's selfish, self-absorbed, obsessive, and kind of sadistic. A child old enough to be left alone to buy Christmas presents for her family is old enough to know that pouring hot chocolate into the fish bowl is a very bad idea. What did she think would happen? (By the way, the fish died.)

The illustrations here are really rough. I guess I just don't like the Holms' style. I had the same issue with the Sunny series. It's even worse here, because the illustrations aren't even in full colour. There are just touches of pink everywhere (which kind of codes this as a book intended for girls; I don't know if the other books in the series use other colours, or if they're all pink). I'm glad that, in the picture book, they neatened up the style a bit; it's not very appealing to look at here.

The plot is pretty stupid. Babymouse wants a device called a Whiz Bang. That's it. She's absolutely obsessed with getting one, and so she becomes obsessed with anything that might lead to her getting one: visiting Santa, joining her friend's family for Hanukkah celebrations (because they have eight days of presents, of course), competing in the locker-decorating contest to win one (which leads to a really weird scene with a locker that defies the laws of physics, and a reference to another cartoon franchise... I think). Babymouse's greed gets really tiresome by the end, and even though she eventually understands the true meaning of the holiday, by that point it's too late. She hasn't even bothered to get presents for her family, so obsessed was she with this stupid Whiz Bang thing. (Having her have her epiphany at that point rings kind of hollow... and convenient. Of course she realizes presents aren't everything at the point where she's in no position to reciprocate!)

This is really weak, both as a graphic novel and as a Christmas book. I don't think I'm going to bother with any more of Babymouse's antics, in any case.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing & Editing: 3/5
Illustration: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2.13 out of 5 ladybugs

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