Snow Job: Tacky's Christmas by Helen Lester
DECK THE ICEBERG, WRAP A GIFTY!
FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
MAKE AN ORNAMENT THAT'S NIFTY!
FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA.
'Tis the season down in Nice Icy Land, and those precise penguins, Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, and Perfect, are out to out-do Martha Stewart. Their igloos are encircled with Christmas lights; those persnickety penguins are designing their own signature ornaments; and with the plenitude of ice cubes in their fridges, there are plenty to spell out MERRY CHRISTMAS for all to see.
The only problem is a lack of, er, well, Christmas trees to decorate, but hey, with not a tree in sight down in Nice Icy Land, there's nothing festive upon which to hang those ornaments and under which to put their gifties.
"WE COULD DECORATE TACKY," SUGGESTED GOODLY AND LOVELY.
"HE'S SORT OF TREE-SHAPED, IF A BIT HEAVY ON THE LOWER PART," ADDED ANGEL, NEATLY, AND PERFECT.
"HEY, SUIT ME UP!" CRIED TACKY
The agreeable Tacky the Penguin agrees to a dual role--Christmas tree and Santa--even if he does need a little shove from the gang to make it down those chimneys. The penguins are now all done with Christmas preparations, and there's only one thing left to do--OPEN THOSE GIFTIES!
And the gifties don't disappoint. There's a jar of belly-sliding slickum for all, speedy flippers for their feet, snappy red holiday bowties, feather dusters (hey, no more dusty feathers for these birds!), and bottles of Yellow Brand Beak and Foot Polish. Only Tacky's present seem a bit, well, less than apropos. Shaving cream?
But Tacky knows what to do with it. "Hey, this is really fun stuff," he yells, as he begins to squirt the white stuff in everyone's faces. But before they can mount a protest, they hear that sound that Nice Icy Land fears above all:
Yikes! It's the hunters, thumping toward them with their rocks and locks and maps and traps, chanting their marching song, rough and tough as always:
"WE'RE GONNA MARCH SOME PRETTY PENGUINS
AND WE'LL DRAG THEM THROUGH THE SNOW
AND WE'LL TAKE AWAY THEIR GIFTIES
HO, HO, HO."
But, wait! Who is this with the red suit and long white beard? And who are these little short guys with the red and green caps and fluffy white beards with him?
"WHOA! HIM'S NOT A PRETTY PENGUIN. HIM'S SANDY CLAWZ! LOOKY THAT BEARDY!
WHY, LOOKY, THEM'S SANDY'S ELFIES. THEM'S GOT BEARDZIES TOO. WHOA, LOOKY THAT!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, ELFIES!"
Works for me, figures Tacky, and the other pretty penguins go along with the deception. With their shaving cream beards firmly frozen in place on their chinny-chin-chins, the penguins party down with fish pudding all around, and to the tune of Tacky's carols, it's a very merry Christmas for penguins and hunters alike down in Nice Icy Land .
Helen Lester's latest in her long-running and evergreen Tacky the Penguin series, Tacky's Christmas (Tacky the Penguin) (Houghton Mifflin, 2010), comes in plenty of time to be a nifty gifty for the Christmas season, is sure to be a hit with fans of the rotund Tacky. With Lynn Munsinger's signature illustrations and its own CD of Nice Icy Land carols on board, this book should be at the top of the Christmas list.