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Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday

Review

Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday

written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Christmas is zooming up on the Moodys' calendar. Stink is glued to the Weather Channel hoping to get good snow news. When he meets the new mailman, Mr. Frost, Stink is told to call him Jack, as in "Jack Frost." Jack Frost has a big white beard and a round tummy. He also has a great sense of humor (he tells Stink that if a dog bites him, he'll get "frost bite"). Stink immediately puts two and two together and pleads for Jack Frost to deliver snow since that is all he cares about this Christmas --- even as Stink's sister Judy informs him that it never rains in Virginia, so he's out of luck.

But Jack Frost claims he might be able to arrange a snowstorm. He seems to know quite a lot about weather and reminisces about a huge snowstorm in 1980. This gives Stink hope, although Judy teases him unmercifully when he tells her that Jack Frost is their new mailman and might help them get snow.

Meanwhile, Judy is busy composing her T.P. (totally presents) list, which she actually writes on toilet paper. Her list is very long, but when she tells Stink to write his, he prints out one word: "SNOW." Later, when Judy informs her mom about her class's Hawaiian Christmas party, Stink tells how his class made a snowflake field guide and learned about the famous snowflake photographer named Snowflake Bentley. At the school play, the parrot in Judy's class makes everyone laugh by belting out "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in Spanish, while Stink stuns the audience (and his teacher) by not appearing as the "Night Before Christmas" mouse, but as a blinding white snowflake.

On Christmas Eve, the Moody house is a scene of wild gift-wrapping and pizza eating. The doorbell rings, and Jack Frost appears with a package. But Stink answers the door, and so he is the only one to see him. The package is addressed to them but has no return address. When Judy and Stink tear it open, they find a pair of mittens for each of them. Stink is intrigued by the mystery, while Judy thinks it's silly.

Judy returns to decorating the entire house in a Hawaiian holiday motif with pink flamingo lights, a blow-up palm tree and paper surfboards, while Stink stares longingly out the window, hoping and wishing for snow clouds. He bets Judy that it will snow by midnight; whoever loses has to eat the terrible fruitcake that Grandma Lou makes and sends to the family. The two siblings determine that they will stay up until midnight to see who wins the bet.

They try everything in order to stay awake: sips of coffee (blech!), loud Christmas carol CDs, reading out loud every book about snow the family owns, and playing card games. Their mom and dad even let them crawl into their sleeping bags in the living room. Unfortunately Stink falls asleep. Judy manages to stay awake until she hears something completely unexpected.

THE HOLLY JOLIDAY is another fun book in this series, with an additional enjoyable smidge of holiday magic and wonder. The many fans of Judy Moody and Stink will adore joining the Moody clan for the holidays and will root for Stink's Christmas wish to come true.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on September 9, 2008

Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday
(Judy Moody and Stink #1)
written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds