Foreword Reviews

The Christmas Spryte Encounter

Bad Behavior

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Light-hearted and lyrical, Nanette Crighton’s The Christmas Spryte Encounter: Bad Behavior is a delightfully creative holiday tale.

When one too many displays of churlish temper and disrespect earn a feisty girl an official place on Santa’s naughty list, a concerned elf intervenes on her behalf. Nanette Crighton’s The Christmas Spryte Encounter: Bad Behavior is an entertaining holiday treat for the whole family to enjoy.

Pinching her baby brother may have been a bit much, but this big sister is determined to let everyone around her know how unhappy she is to be visiting the mall on Christmas Eve. The arrival of Glynt P. Spryte, a self-proclaimed “Behavioral Elf,” is just the motivation she needs to adjust her ornery attitude and actions in time to avoid nothing but lumps of coal under the tree.

Humorous and fun, the narrative evolves entirely in poetic verse, with a consistent double couplet rhyme scheme that sets a smooth, rolling pace throughout. Glynt’s impassioned speeches and the little girl’s dramatic reactions are ideal elements for a lively read aloud. A number of omitted closing quotation marks and instances of unexpected capitalization occur, but it is unlikely that young audiences will notice as the energy remains high with the looming threat of not receiving any gifts.

Bright and cheerful, the illustrations break away from seasonal reds and greens, utilizing a sunnier palette ranging from turquoise and lavender to yellow and pink. Big sister is adorable with pigtails and freckles, pouting in a short-sleeved top with a happy purple flower and orange pants, while Glynt sports a cowboy sheriff ensemble, complete with sparkling blue wings and a ten-gallon hat—or, as the little girl notes, “The hat that he wore held one-twelfth of a cup, ’Cause a ten-gallon hat would have covered him up.”

The young lady’s transformation is a fast one, her jump from naughty to nice basically occurring over the course of one afternoon, and her sweetness makes it difficult to believe she truly belonged on Santa’s infamous list of degenerates in the first place. It’s too easy to sympathize with her angst at being made to brave the mall on Christmas Eve.

The timeline is a bit blurred, with the demonstration of a wide range of positive behaviors, from helping Mom carry boxes and minding her manners to eating vegetables and covering her nose when sneezing. The effect is that it seems as though more time has passed than just a few hours, and it is unclear if she is reinstated as a “nice” girl due to her actions or just her intentions and a change of heart. However, the moral of the story is clear, and the result is a happy, joyful girl.

Lighthearted and lyrical, Nanette Crighton’s The Christmas Spryte Encounter: Bad Behavior is a delightfully creative holiday tale, perfect for all those lovable troublemakers who may need a little extra reminder this December to be good for goodness’ sake.

Reviewed by Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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