Thursday, December 2, 2021

Review - The Toys' Christmas

The Toys' Christmas

by Claire Clément
illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
Date: 2012
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

This cozy, cuddly Christmas story tells how Santa makes sure he leaves the perfect gift for each child—with a little help from their favorite toys!

It is Christmas Eve and Noah’s toy elephant, Fanfan, has gone missing! Little does he know that Fanfan has crept out of the house to join other soft toys on their annual Christmas journey: to see Santa Claus!

Just in case letters don’t reach Santa, toys all around the world make this trip so they can tell Santa what their child wants most of all. (After all, who knows a child better than their best-loved toy?)

Will Fanfan return in time for Christmas morning? And will Noah get the present that he so longs for?

Perfect to curl up with at bedtime, this sweet and magical tale is illustrated by Genevieve Godbout, the artist behind Apple Cake.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The illustrations in this book are very cute, but there almost seems to be a mismatch between pictures and text. I suspect it may be due to the translation.

This is a story about a bunch of toys that go off to see Santa to tell him what their respective children would like for Christmas. These stories always seem kind of quaint, and I often wonder how modern kids—who ask for things like brand-name gadgets and toys—see the simple gifts of dolls, books, and wooden swords that Santa is depicted as making.

The text states that this journey of the toys happens every year, but this seems to be the first year that Noah is missing his toy. You'd think that all the favourite toys disappearing on Christmas Eve every year would be noticed, but the story just kind of ignores that point.

The book was originally published in 2012 as La longue marche des doudous, and there's something about this particular translation that just doesn't cut it for me. I don't know; maybe the original French is just as bad. But I found the text to be so lifeless, especially compared to the soft, whimsical illustrations. (I've read a few books illustrated by Godbout now, and I really enjoy her style.)

Maybe, read aloud, this book would have a few more sparks of life. I don't doubt that kids will like looking at the pictures, and the overall premise is very cute. I just wish that the text had been on the same level as the illustrations.

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

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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