cover image Merry Merry Holly Holly

Merry Merry Holly Holly

Dori Chaconas, illus. by Lisa McCue. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-451-47501-5

Ten years after their eponymous debut in what would become a series of early readers, Cork and Fuzz make their first appearance in a picture book, one that finds the pensive muskrat and free-spirited possum trying to figure out why a certain winter day feels special. McCue lavishes attention on the two friends’ wiry fur, as well as their rural surroundings, as they tromp through snowy fields to find the right tree under which to think. A spontaneous song Fuzz starts singing (“Merry, merry, holly, holly, ho-ho-ho”) and visual cues like holly and jingle bells point to a clear answer, but Chaconas sidesteps any explicit mention of Christmas. “Being together makes a day special,” says Fuzz after the two discover a peaceful pine tree, laden with snow and decked with lights, which is all the explanation these animals need. It’ll be enough for many families, too. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)