Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve, by Janet Morgan Stoeke
(2007, Dutton Children’s Books, ISBN 978-0-525-47857-7)
Minerva Louise, the perpetually confused chicken, finds a red-hatted “farmer” on the roof and gets all mixed-up in Christmas Eve activity on the farm.
Minerva Louise is admiring the snow on the house with the red curtains and the “fireflies…all dressed up in party colors” on the evergreen right outside. The fancy-horned goats on the roof seem to be ready for the party, too, as does the farmer in the red hat. Minerva Louise warns him to be careful because the roof is slippery, but he falls down the well anyway. Minerva Louise is indignant as the farmer in the red hat starts unpacking like he’s going to move into her farmers’ house and filling up their socks with his things and eating their breakfast all set out on the table! In the end, the farmer in the red hat leaves Minerva Louise a present–a lovely fancy nest to snuggle down in–and she is happy once again.
Young children will enjoy pointing out all of Minerva’s mistakes as she misinterprets everything from the Christmas lights on the tree outside to Santa leaving presents under the tree and in the stockings (and Minerva Louise’s own gift–discarded on the side as she nests in the prettily wrapped box from which she removed it). The pictures are bright and simple and give small readers all the clues they need to figure out what Minerva Louise is trying to understand. (With the very youngest listeners, it helps to start the ball rolling by asking in that voice that insinuates something silly is going on, “Are those really fireflies on the tree? No, it’s Christmas lights! Minerva Louise is so silly!” They catch on quickly. 🙂 )
GirlChild’s Reactions: GirlChild spent most of this book giggling at Minerva Louise’s silliness. “That’s not a white hen! That’s an angel!” *giggling behind her hand and so on and so forth* This book is perfect for those reality-savvy youngsters who like a good bit of goofiness in their reading! I imagine preschoolers through early elementary would all find this a very fun read-aloud.