Children’s Book Reviews

Children's' Book Reviews: Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol

Publish November 30, 2016

Following the success of A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (Scholastic 2014) and its sequel, Dashing Through the Snow (Scholastic 2015), the animal friends return once more to decorate for the holidays. In Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol by author Helaine Becker and illustrator Werner Zimmerman, the animals transform a house into a jolly dwelling, with no shortage of fun or frenzy! Using the structure of the carol “Deck the Halls, Becker rhythmically details the animals’ holiday preparations. While porcupine hangs the holly and the beavers begin building, the loons rollerblade in circles, sled dogs race past and racoons chase close behind. With each new verse, Zimmermann’s pencil, ink and watercolour illustrations become more complex and intertwined. For example, the caroling otters lull the polar bear to sleep, and they in turn curl up beside him as the moose choir sings. In the background, porcupine continues to hang the holly across the room, using polar bear’s chair as a ladder. Zimmermann also builds suspense with the gradual revelation of beavers’ building – and rebuilding! – project. His palate of purples, oranges, and yellows warms as we draw nearer to the end of the story. With its simple “fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la” refrain, Deck the Halls is easy to sing along with, and kids can play along, too, as the music is included in the back matter. Filled with singing, snoozing, and plenty of magic, it’s a sure bet for this holiday season.

Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol

Helaine Becker
Illustration EN: Werner Zimmermann
Scholastic Canada Inc.
ISBN 13: 978-1-4431-4836-8

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.