Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week I looked at Sterling Publishing’s new book The Great Reindeer Rebellion (4-8), a funny Christmas rhyme written by Lisa Trumbauer and illustrated by Jannie Ho. Still keeping in the Christmas spirit this week, I’m reviewing Christmas with Rita and Whatsit written by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod and illustrated by Olivier Tallec. Published by Chronicle Books, I have Crystal at Raincoast Books to thank for my review copy.
It’s Christmas Eve and there’s so much for Rita and Whatsit to do before Santa comes: write letters to Santa, decorate the Christmas tree, make no-bake Christmas gloop cake, howl a few Christmas carols, and hang a stocking (and a few shoes since Rita likes to think big). Finally it’s bedtime. It’s midnight and not a creature is stirring, except Whatsit, who can’t sleep. But what’s that? Whatsit goes to investigate a sound and lets out a his biggest dog BARK! Oh no, did Whatsit scare away Santa?
My kids loved the characters of Rita and Whatsit. They loved the independence of Rita, a young girl in the story doing her own things to get ready to Santa. And Whatsit’s antics made them laugh: decorating his own treat with bologna or juggling tree ornaments. My oldest commented that her cats would do the same thing (except with a tree of fish).
The relationship between child and pet is one many families can relate to. Reading Christmas with Rita and Whatsit brings a wonderful child-like innocence and wonder to the whole Christmas preparation rituals. This is emphasized with the simple sketch drawings, punctuated only by Rita’s red dress and Whatsit’s red eye spot. This is a wonderful story about friendship.
You can add Christmas with Rita and Whatsit to your own personal library from Amazon.ca. You can also enjoy the antics of Rita and Whatsit in their other two books: Rita and Whatsit and Rita and Whatsit at the Beach. If you’re looking for other great books for kids, take a read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.