Jingle Bells by Nick Butterworth

Jingle Bells by Nick Butterworth
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Join some very enterprising mice in this funny, festive story from best-selling creator of Percy the Park Keeper, Nick Butterworth. Fastened with ribbon and jingly bell, this book makes a wonderful Christmas gift!

Christmas time, a happy time – or so it should be. But for two small mice, Lottie and Jack, Christmas Eve is overshadowed by one big problem… That Cat. How can they stop him from spoiling everything? Their friend, the wise rat, Ton Chee, has an idea involving a little golden bell … but will it work?

Not every Christmas is a perfect one.

What a peaceful farm to set this story on. I felt as though I received exactly the right amount of information about the farmhouse, barn, outbuildings, and yard. The most important portions of the plot involved what the characters were doing in these places, of course, but it was nice to have such a sturdy backdrop for all of their adventures. Things like this can be easily overlooked, yet they make such a big difference in how readers connect to a story. Good job on all of this, Mr. Butterworth!

I would have liked to see more attention paid to the bullying in this story. Angus the cat was consistently unkind to Lottie and Jack in previous obvious ways. I was surprised by how much Angus was able to get away with and found myself wishing for stronger consequences for these actions. The solution that was eventually shared was a good start, but it would have been nice to see it taken far enough for the cat to realize they were wrong and try to do something to make up for it. As much as I enjoyed the rest of the storyline, I’d want to have a conversation about more efficient ways to handle bullying afterwards if I were to read it to preschoolers.

With that being said, I did appreciate Lottie and Jack’s creativity in this area of their lives. There is definitely something to be said for seeking advice from wise folks and trying to fix a problem after listening to someone else’s ideas about it. I also enjoyed seeing how this issue tied into the magic of the Christmas season, but that’s something other readers should learn more about themselves.

Jingle Bells made me wish Christmas would arrive sooner.

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