Long Live the Pumpkin Queen: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

Disney. Aug. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368069601.
Gr 7-10–Exactly 50 weeks after the events of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack and Sally Skellington have returned from their honeymoon to begin their work as the Pumpkin King and Queen. Unfortunately, Sally finds being a queen rather suffocating and chafes at the drudgery of new gowns and dealing with the mayor all the time as Halloween approaches. When Jack’s beloved ghost-dog Zero and Sally accidentally fall into the forgotten world of Dream Town, a series of events occurs that threatens everything she knows and loves. Sally uncovers some family secrets in her search for the answer to her situation. She must decide once and for all if she can be the Pumpkin Queen and save all the holidays for everyone. Ernshaw’s atmospheric and spooky writing lends itself well to Burton’s world. The adult age of the main characters and the juvenile tone and quick pacing of the novel create a juxtaposition that is questionable but not altogether uncomfortable. Sally’s doubts about her suitability for the position she finds herself in will resonate with many readers, but the assumption of familiarity with the characters themselves may keep the story from being accessible to some readers.
VERDICT Details about Sally’s past and a chance to spend more time with beloved characters will appeal greatly to fans of the original movie but may not tempt others.

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