A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan

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A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Canine mayhem in the build-up to Christmas with a big, yellow puppy in this picture book which, despite saccharine illustrations manages to be genuinely funny and would make reasonable Christmas reading material for anybody with young children, especially if they have a dog.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: November 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007287239

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Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog was an international best-seller which sold almost 3 million copies (over 100 thousand in the UK), and thus, inevitably, generated a bit of a synergy project, with a movie now being made and already one picture book, Bad Dog Marley and a junior version of the original - Marley: A Dog Like No Other.

And thus for A Very Marley Christmas, because if there is something cuter and funnier than a misbehaving puppy, it must be a puppy in a Santa hat misbehaving around a Christmas tree.

And, so it is, actually. Despite awfully saccharine illustrations (especially the Mummy and the girl were rather nauseating, with exactly the same faces and a blond, cute Meg Ryan type of look), Marley's antics are just very, very funny. He pulls at the paper chains, eats the fairy lights, pees on the tree and finally, delivers the best present of all.

It is all described in a text that flows well and is full of exclamations, screams, woofs and barks which are fun to reproduce when reading aloud.

The pictures, even with their sickly Norman Rockwell's suburban family are dynamic, full of life (and full of Marley) and Christmasy detail. The expressions are clear – even small children will be able to recognise emotions depicted. There are two children in the story, which means that both slightly older children (up to the earlier years of primary school) and older toddlers and preschoolers will find themselves in the tale.

Marley is cutely delightful, and the mayhem he creates will bring tears of laughter and recognition not only to puppy owners (I never owned a puppy, just assuming here) but to anybody sharing Christmas with toddlers who tend to exhibit similar behaviour and are more likely to identify (or be identified by their parents and older siblings) with Marley than with the pre-verbal and exceedingly good baby Louie smugly painting a perfectly clean (and recognisable) snowman for the door.

As far as Christmas picture books go, not too bad at all, and a decent present or a book to get for the build-up period for anybody with young children, especially if they have a dog.

The review copy was sent to the Bookbag by the publisher - thank you!

For another Christmas book with an animal theme we can recommend Bear's First Christmas.

Buy A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan at Amazon.com.


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