cover image Murray Christmas

Murray Christmas

E.G. Keller. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5392-3

A shaggy dog with a big, boop-worthy snout and a pink pig stuffie, Murray is fiercely, if not always sensibly, vigilant on behalf of his beloved human family: an interracial bearded couple and their child, who’s portrayed with light brown skin. One day, Murray’s family does “the most peculiar thing: They planted a tree in the living room.” Readers will instantly recognize further changes as Christmas preparations, but to Murray they mean one thing: “Threats lurked everywhere.” He growls at “the smelly sticks” (candles) and tugs “at the laundry that was wrongly hung on the fireplace” (stockings). Late one snowy night, a suspicious-looking guy in a red suit—the same one who keeps appearing on television and in store windows—shows up at Murray’s house. Can Murray save the day, or must Christmas be saved from Murray? With understated comic storytelling and elegant, watercolorlike digital drawings, Keller’s holiday fable has the lighthearted wit of vintage New Yorker covers. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)