Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reader's Diary #924- Mike Reiss and illustrated by David Catrow: Merry Un-Christmas

I was going through our Christmas book collection they other day when I discovered that Mike Reiss, the author of Merry Un-Christmas, was former head writer for The Simpsons. I'd read the book in the past but forgotten the story, but now knowing the Simpsons connection, I figured I'd give it another shot.

To start, Merry Un-Christmas is a funny book. It's not Simpsons funny, meaning it's neither inappropriate nor as funny, but most kids and adults would find it amusing nonetheless. I know there's a whole thing with Fox's War on Christmas© and Jon Stewart's War on War on Christmas©, but this is aimed more at the Christmas lovers among us who still believe in moderation, call it a War on November Christmas© if you like. When you're a kid or some dude from Wizzard, you probably wish that it could be Christmas everyday. Mike Reiss and David Catrow would like you to know that you are wrong.

It begins with a bit of a mystery. Noelle gets a doll, a dollhouse, a new computer, ice skates, a bike, and a pony, and all she can do is yawn and say "gee, thanks"? What kind of spoiled brat is this? The thing is, she's gotten that every day for 364 days of the year. Cue the illustration of teary-eyed ponies behind a chain-linked fence. And that's right, I said 364 days. In Christmas City, Texmas it's nearly always Christmas, but for one unmagical day of the year, it's Un-Christmas. Never have you seen a kid so excited to go to school, to see the living room bare, to not have turkey and five kinds of pie.

Sure, there's a subtle message about moderation and gratitude, but it's entertaining enough to make it palatable.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Reiss wrote for The Simpsons, you say? It sounds as though he could easily have written for The Twilight Zone, as well. There's something more than a little creepy about the premise of 364 days of Christmas per year.

John Mutford said...

Barbara: For the most part the book isn't creepy. Although when Noelle is less than thrilled by the pony and the illustration shows a tear in the pony's eye, it's simultaneously creepy and sad. Even worse when it's herded to the compound with the rest of the ponies.