Murray Christmas by E. G. Keller and A Very Mercy Christmas by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Published by Harry N. Abrams

Published by Candlewick

Summary: Murray is a dog who takes his job as family protector very seriously. When the family starts doing odd things like bringing a tree into the house and hanging laundry by the fireplace, Murray tries to get things back to normal. He starts seeing a weird guy in a red suit everywhere, and then one night the guy appears in his house! Murray tries to get him out, and the ensuing chaos nearly ruins Christmas. But Santa turns out to be pretty helpful, and the two of them work to set things back to rights. Although Murray can’t figure out why this man doesn’t use the front door like everyone else, he’s happy to find a present waiting for him on Christmas morning…his own Santa hat. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Many readers will be familiar with the characters and setting of A Very Mercy Christmas. Stella wants to go caroling, but the humans are all too busy. She heads down the street with Mercy and General Washington the cat and decides to try singing a solo carol. When the animals join in (in their own ways), they’re joined by Maybelline the horse. All the ruckus brings the humans out to join in, and then they all head back to the Watsons’ for some buttered toast. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros: Kids are sure to get a chuckle out of both of these Christmas books featuring some pretty loveable animals and warm holiday spirit.

Cons: Those who haven’t read the Mercy Watson books may be a bit mystified by some of the characters and situations.

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