Authors: Michael Fry and Bradley Jackson
240 pages—Ages 8 to 12 (and up)
Published by: HarperCollins on September 22, 2015
Summary (from harpercollins.com):
When Bobbie’s hilariously bumbling efforts to save her brother’s Christmas actually land him on Santa’s Naughty List, she must travel to the North Pole to make things right again and save Christmas. Bobbie suddenly finds herself on an epic holiday adventure complete with rogue elves, dysfunctional reindeer, a lazy Santa, and more.
Fans of the Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will love this laugh-out-loud funny Christmas adventure packed with comic illustrations.
The main (and really only) reason that I chose this book to read and review is that I wanted to do a Christmas book because it is Christmas time. I kept looking for Christmas titles that were geared to the middle school audience and I just couldn’t really find a good one. The classic Christmas book is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I thought about reviewing it, but it’s been so many years since I read it and I wanted to try something new. When I saw this book at the bookstore, I just gave in and decided to get it.
To be honest, the summary didn’t really catch my attention too much. My guess is that this book focuses more on humor than on story. When I looked at some review on amazon.com, they actually were pretty good so I actually have decent expectations for this.
Usually when I think of a Christmas story I think of a heartwarming story with a good lesson in the end. This was definitely not one of those stories. This was a wacky tale that saw the protagonist, Bobbie, getting into copious amounts of misadventures. There were a few lessons that were scattered throughout the story, but I didn’t feel like they were really fleshed out well.
The writing style took me a little while to get used to. The authors flip through prose and illustrations quite frequently. In fact, the books reminds me much of Big Nate or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, except with those books I have no trouble to following the storyline. At the beginning of this book, I thought that the book was going to be prose with just a few illustrations, but it is actually a hybrid of prose and comics. Because I thought this was going to be a traditional book with illustrations it took me a while to figure out that the pictures weren’t just to illustrate what was going on for the readers imagination, but actually were used to move the story along. I don’t think it had as much magic as the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate, but the comics definitely added a lot of the humor to the book.
And that brings me to the humor. I could definitely see how this book would be rolling on the ground funny to some people, but it wasn’t for me. Even so, I did get some chuckles from this and I was able to enjoy it. At time, I enjoyed Bobbie’s facial expressions she made when she couldn’t believe something was happening. To me, most of the humor came from the different ways that Bobbie would react to different situations.
Overall, this is a fun wacky story that will absolutely appeal to kids in elementary and middle school. It’s a fun non-traditional Christmas story that doesn’t really have any deep emotional parts, but is a quick funny read that will keep either you or your kid occupied for a few hours.