cover image Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas

Missile Toe: A Very Confused Christmas

Devin Scillian, illus. by Marty Kelley. Sleeping Bear, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-371-1

Puns and misheard Christmas carol lyrics abound in this goofy collection of a dozen holiday-themed poems from news anchor and children’s book author Scillian. Writing mostly in rhymed couplets, he contemplates the mysteries of what decking the halls means and what sugarplums are before moving on to poems with titles like “Beth the Ham” (about a spotlight-hogging sheep in a school play), “Wild Shepherds Washed Their Flocks by Night,” and “Round John Verjun,” about a mystery guest at the stable in Bethlehem (“Joseph leans in. ‘How do you do?/ I hate to be rude, but who are you?’ ”). The rhymes tend to be corny, but there are some winners in the bunch (“Angels we half heard on high, mumbling something in the sky”), and Kelley’s energetic pencil-and-watercolor images tap into the atmosphere of silliness. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)