CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 20. . . .January 29, 2010
Scholastic Canada has assembled five Canadian picture books that were originally published between 1990 and 2006 and has republished them in a single, larger format volume (think of the size of the “Munsch Treasury” books). As the title indicates, Christmas is the theme common to all five books though it’s a bit of a stretch for Sadie the Ballerina. However, since The Nutcracker is a ballet that is frequently performed during the Christmas season, the story’s probably not too terribly out of place.
Essentially, Merry Christmas is simply a reprinting of the original books. However, when I compared three of the original books with what appears in Merry Christmas, with two of the books I did find small changes. In The Little Crooked Christmas Tree, a line of text. “With this, the white dove and her children flew off” has been added (p. 10) whereas in Sadie the Ballerina, the line, “The audience applauded,” which closed p. 24 in the original book, has been deleted in the Merry Christmas version. As well, the new, enlarged size of the illustrations means that Sadie’s feet now appropriately appear on p. 39 of the Merry Christmas version of Sadie the Ballerina.
Merry Christmas closes with a biographical section in which each author and illustrator is treated in a single page that also includes a colour head and shoulder photo of the subject. This section’s chatty contents include such interesting tidbits as the fact that The Little Crooked Christmas Tree “has never been out of print” or that, for illustration models for Moon and Star: A Christmas Story, Robin Muller “invited all his friends to send photos of or lend him their favourite toys.”
The volume’s larger format lends to Merry Christmas’s being used with small groups as the illustrations will be more readily visible. And when you consider that you are getting five excellent hardcovered books for little more than the price of a single book, then Merry Christmas is a shrewd gift, home or institutional purchase.
Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, edits CM.
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