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A celebration of a regional Christmas custom tells how Granny's Newfoundland house is visited by the mummers, twenty masked and costumed figures, who turn the night into a wild revel with their jokes and dancing.
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Kindergarten-Grade 4-A rhyming story that refers back to the author's childhood in Newfoundland, when the Mummers, a rag-tag, amateur band of masked and costumed merrymakers, would go from door to door, entering houses and dancing and carousing with the people. For many American children, the tradition might seem peculiar; unlike carolers, who stay outside until welcomed in for a light, gentile refreshment, Mummers are dressed as if for Halloween and take over the house. However, their masks make them more ominous than trick-or-treaters. While the custom is quaint and might be appreciated in another context, the illustrations here are reminiscent of the more hellish, nightmarish moments in Sendak's books, with their distorted features and perspectives. The sketchy quality of the colored-pencil drawings, and the dense grayness of the artist's technique, which lets the nubby texture of the paper come through, fill the pictures with shadows; there is not much that is charming here. The hooded, masked faces are scary, and most of these merrymakers look like mischief-makers, even when they occasionally reveal themselves. The humor and joy of the moment are difficult to reclaim from this offering.
Ruth K. MacDonald, Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 6-9. An old tradition begun in rural Newfoundland in the 1800s captures the spirit of two favorite holidays--Christmas and Halloween. The words to a popular song describe the custom of costumed mummers (neighbors disguised as hapless scarecrows) visiting from house to house for singing, dancing, and refreshments in the days after Christmas. Wallace's grainy, colored pencil drawings create a crazy canvas of Noel and nonsense: people dress outrageously, with mittens on their feet and their underwear on the outside. The merrymaking is wild, and everyone works up a sweat in their layers of clothes. For a really different holiday book, you need look no further. Denia Hester
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Book Description Orchard Books, 1994. Library Binding. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0531086755
Book Description Orchard Books, 1994. Condition: New. Ian Wallace (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0531086755