Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas

illus. by Marty Kelley. 32p. Sleeping Bear. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781585363711.
Gr 2–4—This collection of ridiculous poems inspired by images in traditional Christmas lore and misinterpreted carol lyrics opens with a young bespectacled boy musing, "I know Jesus and Santa and Rudolph's nose./I know about Frosty when he came unfroze./I know Dasher and Dancer, Comet and Cupid./But sometimes I feel like I'm Christmas stupid…" The 12 selections are by turns clever, nonsensical, completely unrelated to the holiday, and downright irreverent. The most successful offering is "Beth the Ham," about a girl cast as a lamb with no lines in the annual pageant who steals the show with jokes, dancing, and juggling. The most-likely-to-offend selection is "Round John Verjun," centered on a portly man who stumbles into the manger scene of "Silent Night" looking for a snack. There's no wrap-up musing to tie it all together, and though Kelley's illustrations are skillful and amusing, Scillian's attempt to channel a child's befuddled imagination seems somewhat forced.
VERDICT Purchase for fans of Scillian's other books or for sophisticated kids who appreciate MAD Magazine—style satire.

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