Christmas is Here!, the new kiddie book that’s part of the Ready-to-Read line (and not to be confused with the recently-released sound-button book Christmas Time is Here!), is a bit of a lie. None of the book takes place actually on Christmas, it’s all set on Christmas Eve. But then, come to think of it, the same thing is true of A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s set on Christmas Eve at the latest. They don’t even give the actual performance of the Christmas pageant they’re putting on, it’s all at rehearsal.
I know, “picky picky.”
Overall, I like this book. The bulk of it is on Snoopy trying to entertain Woodstock, find ways to have fun together as Christmas impends. Writer Ximana Hastings keeps things well in tone. (The art is by Robert Pope, who of course I always like.) The ending is, well, a pro-social message ending that doesn’t make me happy – spoilers here – Snoopy realizes that he and Woodstock have to go and get together with the kids, for “Christmas Eve… is not the same without everybody together.” That doesn’t sound like something that Snoopy would believe – when he chooses to entertain himself with a group, it’s bunnies or birdies, not humans – nor something that I believe. (There’s nothing wrong with being the sort of person who loves to be in the whole group. There’s also nothing wrong with being the sort of person who prefers a quieter, more intimate time with just one or two key people… or even with being a loner who is happier in the calmness of solace.) But then this Ready-to-Read Level Two book isn’t intended for me with my mumblety-mumble years on my odometer.
The book, at least the paperback version, does come stickers in the back… a dozen good humorous image of the Peanuts characters in Christmas scenes, and then just enough stars (some with things like “I Like to Read” written on them) to make the cover statement of “includes more than 30 stickers” to be truthful.