In this children’s book, animals take over a house left empty during Christmas.

The night before traveling for the holiday, Katy Randall spies a frog shivering at the window. Leaving the next morning, the girl accidentally drops her mitten, propping the front door open. The frog moves in to enjoy a nice, warm, quiet house, but then a host of animals—beavers, bears, rabbits, owls, and more—discovers the open door. The frog lays down some house rules (clean up your mess; no eating anyone) to cope. On Christmas Day, the animals throw a huge party and are almost caught by people looking through the window. Thinking fast, the creatures pose like Santa, his sleigh, and his reindeer, with the frog sporting a fake red nose as Rudolph. They depart before the Randalls return but leave a few surprises, like fur on the towels. Stranger still is a certificate saying the family’s won a prize for the town’s best Christmas window display, citing their creative use of “stuffed animals.” Katy makes sure to leave her mitten in the door every year. Langteau, who has written several children’s books, tells a hilarious Christmas story with a building sense of anarchy. Quatrains rhyming in an abcb pattern offer a rollicking rhythm emphasized with typography: “And soon, just like that— / Christmas Day had arrived / and their lives felt like one giant treat / They sang and they danced, / and exchanged simple gifts. / But what they did mostly was EAT!” Still, parents may want to warn kids not to follow Katy’s example considering the dangers of possible burglars. Debut illustrator Brannon provides full-page, soft-edged images in rich, glowing colors dominated by tawny red-orange, deep blue, and pine green; the Randalls have terra-cotta skin. She underscores the book’s energy and humor with details such as the rabbits’ racetrack chalked on the floor and the wonderfully ridiculous, impromptu Christmas display.

The action appropriately snowballs in this uproariously funny seasonal romp.

Pub Date: yesterday

ISBN: 978-0-578-55965-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Shake the Moon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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