A Very Trashy Christmas

HarperCollins. Sept. 2022. 396p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062910196; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780062910202.
Gr 2-5–The third book in the “Down in the Dumps” series is a story about a broken-down sleigh, Santa, and all the stinky fun three friends have in getting Santa to visit them on Christmas Eve at the Westfield Waste Transfer & Recycling Center. Nana, a rotten banana, Mrs. Kettle, a broken teakettle, and Moreland, a blob of chewing gum, all live happily together in the town dump. Out for a winter’s morning stroll, Nana spots a red boot sticking out of a newly dumped pile of trash. Getting Moreland to help, they yank out a funny looking toy doll whom Nana immediately names Steve, but who looks just like Santa. Pretty soon, “Steve” has all of the other residents of Westfield wondering why the real Santa never visits them on Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t know they’re at the dump? Nana and Mrs. Kettle decide that it’s time to fix that. The book is fast-paced; it has a colorful cover; every busy page is filled with plenty of black-and-white illustrations. Chapter endnotes cheer readers on by marking their progress with the number of chapters—and sometimes the number of words—that they’ve just read. Attention-grabbing phrases such as “layered slime cookies,” “snot bubble,” and the “forklift of doom” will have young readers giggling. Hargis wraps up the fun by suggesting three “Super Stinky Games” readers can play that promise to engage their creativity.
VERDICT A recommended purchase.

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