Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Review - Peanut Butter & Santa Claus

Peanut Butter & Santa Claus
(A Zombie Culinary Tale)
by Joe McGee
illustrated by Charles Santoso
Date: 2019
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

When Santa gets snowed in at the North Pole, it’s up to three heroes from Quirkville to save the day—but they’re in for an ooey-gooey surprise!

Reginald (the zombie), Zarfon (the alien), and Abigail Zink (the human) are all preparing for Christmas in Quirkville when the terrible news breaks: CHRISTMAS IS CANCELED! Santa is snowed in at the North Pole. The three friends hatch a plan to save the day. They load into Zarfon’s spaceship—along with lots of peanut butter for a surprise Christmas delivery to his home planet later on—and head straight for the North Pole. When they arrive, they find that Santa and his elves are trapped, not by snow, but by a marshmallow cream explosion. With a little bit of creativity, a little bit of Christmas spirit, and one big KA-POW!, the pals from Quirkville save Christmas and inadvertently create a delicious treat!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is stupid, juvenile, and potentially scary for young readers.

In a town called Quirkville, there are all sorts of weird citizens: zombies, aliens, and kids who spend too much time on the internet. When Christmas is cancelled, three of them take a trip to the North Pole, only to find that the marshmallow factory is malfunctioning and spewing sticky goo everywhere. The three kids use the alien's supply of peanut butter to make peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches to give to all the kids around the world, and Christmas is saved.

Okay, first of all, if Christmas is cancelled because Santa's stuck at the North Pole, your priorities might be a bit skewed. Do you call up the grandparents and tell them not to come for turkey dinner? Do you ignore all the other presents under the tree from your own family and friends? Come on. I'm not a fan of Thanksgiving picture books that promote disgusting displays of gluttony, and I'm not a fan of Christmas books that imply that getting stuff from Santa is the most important part of the holiday. What about the people who don't believe in Santa Claus? Does their Christmas get cancelled, too?

Second, the whole peanut butter aspect could be pretty scary for children with severe peanut allergies. Not only are Santa's workshops not nut-free, but he's shown leaving potentially deadly snacks in people's living rooms. (He'd better be leaving some EpiPens, too.)

This book appears to be part of a series about Quirkville and its zombies. Maybe the other books are more entertaining. But this one isn't great. It has a questionable message and depicts Santa's flippant disregard for those with severe food allergies.

Skip this one.

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

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2 out of 5

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