Monday, December 08, 2008

Pup's-Eye View of Christmas: A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan

"Tree's up!" called Daddy.

"Sniff, sniff, sniff," went Marley.
Christmas had come early!

"Finally, my own indoor bathroom!" Marley thought.

"Waddy wee wee!" Baby Louie screeched.

This all-too-likely homey holiday vignette is brought to us by John Grogan's new picture book, A Very Marley Christmas, based on his family's adventures with their exuberant Lab Marley.

Christmas is coming, and Cassie and Baby Louie want everything to be perfect. Mommy and Daddy are doing everything they can to get the house ready for Santa's visit--despite the energetic participation of their puppy Marley. Marley pulls the ornaments and decorations out of the big green storage tub and decorates himself and the floor in puppy style, "unwraps" the presents, plays tug-of-war with the tree as Dad tries to drag it into the house, pulls the lights off the tree and gets tangled therein, and bravely fights a tooth-and-nail battle with Cassie's "dangerous," snakey-looking paper snowflake chain. The Grogans finally manage to restore order and get it together for the big day, but there is still one important thing missing from their holiday preparations--snow!

"C'mon, snow; let's go!" Cassie said.

"Ya ya zo! Eek oh!" Baby Louie said.

"Aroof!" Marley said.

The Grogans persevere in their preparations, re-wrapping the gifts, baking the Santa cookies, and perpetually re-draping the tinsel despite Marley's contrarian concept of holiday decor, until at last they have done all they can to prepare for Santa's arrival.

At last everything was just right. Everything except for one thing. The most important decoration of all was still missing.

It is Christmas Eve, and the fluffy white stuff has not arrived. "No zo," Baby Louie sighed

But after all, this is a Christmas story, and we know what Marley discovers the next morning as the kids come downstairs. Burrowing through the drapes, Marley is the first to see what is waiting outside for them. Cassie opens the front door and Marley barrels outside into the surprisingly cold white stuff. Covered in wet snow, he whirls back inside, where, shaking vigorously, he gives the family, the tree, and the waiting gifts a doggy-delivered snowfall all their own.

"Zooey zooey zo zo!"

"Good bow wow, Waddy!" said Baby Louie

A Very Marley Christmas follows Bad Dog, Marley!, Grogan's 2007 picture book adaptation of his best-selling memoir Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog. Marley's misadventures are also out in an easy reader series beginning with Marley & Me: Meet Marley (I Can Read Book 1).

And just in time for the finale of the holiday season there is, of course, the family flick Marley and Me, starring Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson, opening, as we say, in movie theatres everywhere on December 25. The movie's trailer can be seen here.

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