Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The More the Merrier

The More the Merrier

Anne Fine
Illustrator:  Kate Aldous 
For ages 9 to 12
Random House UK, 2006   ISBN: 978-0440867333

We would all like our Christmas celebrations to be times filled with joy, happiness and goodwill. Unfortunately they don’t always turn out the way we would like. Ralph’s Christmas for example is turning out to be quite dreadful. It is Christmas Eve and his home is bulging with guests. Ralph has had to give up his room because his horrid cousin Titania refuses to sleep in Harry’s room. His Great-Granny is being her usual acid self, and Great-Aunt Ida is not lifting a finger to help Ralph’s mother because of a supposed “weak wrist.” Uncle Tristan is throwing potatoes at the cat and Grandpa is going around the house looking for things to fix.

Mum is just about able to handle all of this when, one day early, Uncle Geoffrey and Aunt Miriam arrive with their frightful twins in tow. Last year the twins left a trail of chaos behind them and this year does not promise to be any better. They are completely out of control and with the exception of their doting parents, everyone else dislikes them intensely.

Somehow the family survives Christmas Eve but Christmas Day is a lot harder and in the end, after the big meal is over and after the presents have been opened, frayed tempers finally give way.

This wickedly funny story about a Christmas which is not picture perfect is sure to delight young readers and give them lots of opportunities to laugh out loud. Don’t we all have relatives who drive us crazy and who make holidays stressful? Don’t we all wish sometimes that we could go abroad for the holiday so as to avoid all the brouhaha? Here at last is a story in which the author is not afraid to show the world what many real Christmas celebrations are like.