When it comes to lift-the-flap books with canine protagonists, I always think first of the Spot books by Eric Hill. With bright, cheerful pictures and short, simple sentences, these stories take us through several everyday adventures by the little yellow puppy with a distinctive spot in his fur. Another popular canine character for youngsters is Biscuit, a light brown puppy that looks like it may be a Cocker Spaniel. Biscuit is more realistic-looking than Spot and is often featured in easy readers aimed at a slightly older audience than the Spot books. In Biscuit’s Christmas Eve, however, the left-the-flap format is in place, and the text is simple enough to line up with Hill’s.
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Like the rest of the books in the series, Biscuit’s Christmas Eve is written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Illustrations, meanwhile, are by Mary O’Keefe Young and Pat Schories. While Spot lives with his parents in an anthropomorphic household, Biscuit is a pretty realistic puppy who lives with a little girl. In this book we see the two of them preparing for Christmas together. For each two-page spread, there is a single flap on the page on the right, always in the same position.
There’s nothing particularly unique about this book, which isn’t so much a story as a catalog of traditional Christmassy images with Biscuit and his young owner inserted. We get to see Christmas tree decorations and discover that Biscuit particularly likes the ball. He impedes the hanging of the stockings by playing tug of war and gets tangled in the Christmas lights. Carolers turn up at the door to share their Christmas tidings, with a reward of some tasty Christmas cookies. There’s also a roaring fireplace, a Christmas story before bed and a homemade Christmas gift for the girl’s parents.
Alongside all of these nice cozy expressions of a traditional Christmas celebration, there are hints throughout the book at the deeper meaning of the holiday. For instance, there is a Nativity scene on the mantlepiece and an angel on the tree, and at one point, the girl queries, “Do you hear what I hear?” There’s nothing very overt, but it’s nice to have some acknowledgment of the religious significance of Christmas.
Biscuit’s Christmas Eve is a very short but cute book that should appeal to fans of the sweet little puppy. It’s not a board book, so exercise caution when giving it to children young enough that they might be tempted to rip the flaps clean off. If they’ve never encountered Biscuit before, chances are that they will soon have a new cuddle-worthy character to embrace.
This review is an entry in the Lean-n-Mean Write-Off VIII. Sometimes, less really can be more! It's also an entry in Chelledun's "Get Those Holiday Reviews Out" Write-Off. Let's get into the Christmas spirit!