I know what you’re thinking: A children’s book written by Dean Koontz? Surely you can’t mean the Dean Koontz? Lightning? Mr. Murder?
That Dean Koontz????
Yes, that Dean Koontz.
Well now Thanksgiving is safely past,
more turkey eaten this year than last…
The story is a simple one of what happens when Santa’s evil twin, Bob Claus, tries to make everyone believe that Santa has turned evil. His plan is to replace the real gifts with the likes of mud pies, cat poop, and broccoli. He threatens the reindeer with being turned into stew if they don’t go along with his evil plan. Everything is turning out the way he wants – a general mess – until he meets two little girls named Emily and Lottie.
At the chimney, he looks down at the bricks.
But that entrance is strictly for hicks.
The book reminds me a great deal of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It is written along the same storyline idea, though with some more advanced dialogue that may confuse young children (how many of them know what halitosis is?). The writing is in verse form, with each line ending in a rhyme in sets of twos. At 62 pages, this is not a short, just-before-bedtime story, but one that will take a while to go through.
He prowls the downstairs – wicked, mean –
looking to cause yet one more bad scene.
The illustrations are very colorful and detailed. In pictures of the Christmas tree, we see the detail of the ornaments and popcorn strung on the tree; not just a simple green tree. The house is illustrated with great detail to show the books in the bookcases; the stones in the fireplace; the boards of the floor. Each one is a beautiful picture. Together, they add a tremendous value to the story. Phil Parks has illustrated other books for Dean Koontz (covers) such as Shadowfires and Strange Highway. Mostly an illustrator in the science-fiction realm, he does very well in this children’s book.
That is not to say that all is sweetness and light here. Some children may be frightened by the images contained herein, although I think the one on the cover of Bob Claus as Santa with an intensely evil expression is about as bad as it gets. I would be cautious reading this story to children younger than around seven.
When my oldest daughter (the one we call Stephanie King) was first showing her interest in the horror genre, this was one of the first books I purchased for her. She was about eight at the time, but each child is different. It remained a favorite story for quite some time.
Believing in magic, you saved Christmas Day.
Keep believing in us after we’ve gone away!
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