Friday, December 5, 2008

Grandpa's Witched-Up Christmas

Grandpa's Witched-up Christmas
James Flora ~ Atheneum, 1982

Grandpa's at it again. Flora's last book just might be his freakiest, perfect for my three-year-old son and self-proclaimed "bad dude." (Preschool playground lingo I assure you, not a word found in the nomenclature of home.) I mean, what other book will you literally see Santa Claus kick booty (another delightful playground euphemism)... giving a firm strangle hold to the witch who almost makes a wee Grandpa miss Christmas? The person Flora fashioned this "Grandpa" after must have been a fellow as freaky as his stories... one can only hope this wonderful creature was real.

Again, much like the Halloween version, I find the illustrations vaguely horrifying and offensive, but my son sits on the edge of his chair from the beginning right to the end. Boys dig this stuff.

So, again, the "I" in our story gets an earful from his tall-tale Gramps about the time he was getting home for Christmas and ~ like so many Little Red Riding Hoods before him ~ took a shortcut through the woods (always a storybook BAD IDEA). Only this time he gets spooked and transformed by a gaggle of creepy witches... Check these chicks out.

Those witches were a fearsome lot. They wore ragged black capes and carried greasy sacks slung over their shoulders. I know what was in those sacks -- children's finger bones, dead cats, dried bats and hop toads. Those are the sorts of things witches use to make magic. The first witch was fat and dumpy, with sharp teeth and hair like an unmowed lawn. The second witch was old and shrunken, she looked like a skeleton. She didn't have any feet. That's why she rode a broom. The third witch was tall and warty. She wore a real pointed witch's hat. Her eyes would make a polecat shiver.

Only Santa could go medieval enough on these nasty witches and save Christmas. Good fun! There are lots of Flora fans out there, but I would be interested to hear from somebody who actually had these books when they are young (I know Samy had at least one), just so I can be assured I'm not scarring my boy for life by sharing. Chime in folks.

Also by:
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Kangaroo for Christmas
Stewed Goose
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Grandpa's Farm
Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker
The Day the Cow Sneezed
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Ghost Stories
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
The Fabulous Firework Family


Elmer Neumanberg said...

Cool blog. Check out my blog.

platypotamus said...

I must have these. I had no idea Flora did any kids books. I've been a fan of his work for a while now, though - - anyway, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love books from the past. I especially love Eloise Wilkin's art and I see one of the books mentioned has her art on it. I also love the old Dick and Jane books and all the Little Golden Books. I grew up with Childcraft books and hearing my dad read those caused me to fall in love with poetry. Hence, I wrote a poetry book, Being Frank with Anne- a poetic interpretation of the diary. You can find it for sale at the New York Anne Frank Center website.

Anonymous said...

When I was in elementary I used to take this book from the school library and rent it for as long as possible until it had to go back then I'd get it again haha Ive been searching to buy this book forever!

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