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Mooseltoe Hardcover – September 2, 2000
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This charming verse story, told in a singsong rhythm, stars a moose who is determined that his family's Christmas will be "perfectly perfect." Moose "shopped till he dropped. Check," and "baked tons of tins of cookies. Check,"--but in his haste he completely forgets to buy a Christmas tree. After a long, fruitless search in the snow on Christmas Eve, he finally has to do the heroic thing: stand in a corner and become the tree himself. The crayon illustrations by Henry Cole make much of Moose's endless handlebar "moostache." The rhymes may be rather forced for some tastes--"The kids tried to make the best of it. They said 'Oh so who needs a tree?' But Moose could plainly see they were short on the glee." But perhaps that's all just part of the amoosement value. (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr
Ages 3-6. The moose with the amazing mustache, last seen in Moostache (1997), is getting ready for Christmas, and he's totally organized. Baking cookies, check; sending holiday cards, check; buying gifts, check, check, check. It doesn't become apparent until Christmas Eve that one important job has been left undone: there's no Christmas tree! So Moose makes the ultimate sacrifice for his family--he lets them hang tinsel and ornaments from his long mustache, wrap lights around his antlers, and stick a star on the top of his head. The telling is amusing but odd: in the middle of the story the words start to rhyme, though the text continues to be set down on the page as prose. Consequently, librarians will want to practice before reading this aloud to a group or they're sure to stumble. The cartoon-style watercolors, however, reminiscent of Lynn Munsinger's work, are both boisterous and droll. They're especially amusing whenever Moose and his moustache come into view. The dust jacket, featuring a bedecked, bemused Moose, will draw children into the story. Ilene Cooper
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