By Beaufort Smedley
Illustrated by Linda McConville
Published on: October 28, 2018
A Finalist in the 2019 Indie Book Awards – Children’s/Juvenile Fiction category. A story about what happens to Slanticulis Kawz one Christmas – a character who might actually put Ebeneezer Scrooge and The Grinch to shame.
Wicked old men who live in big empty houses are often just lonely and misunderstood. This is most definitely not one of those stories.
Slanticulis Kawz is the meanest, crankiest, old curmudgeon that you will ever meet. What kind of person takes pride in nurturing weeds and pulling flowers?
One that is only truly happy when spreading misery, that’s who. He never passes up an opportunity to upset a child, especially if they are of the happy variety.
In what can only be described as a moment of pure confuddlery, an overworked elf makes a mistake of epic proportions by placing the fate of Christmas firmly into these bony hands.
Two outcomes are possible but only one is certain. Slanticulis could roll up the sleeves of his smelly old duffel coat and help deliver a Merry Christmas to all. Then again, he could unleash his unique brand of mischief and mayhem upon all who he despises – which is pretty much everyone except for his four legged companion, Trix.
Why Slanticulis Kawz decided to live in the town of Happiness is anyone’s guess. You’d think someone who loves being mean and an overall curmudgeon would want to live in a town called Grumpville. Everyone in Happiness knows to stay away from him, especially since any words of happy cheer by townspeople causes him to threaten lawsuits of all kinds. To make matters worse for Slanticulis, the townspeople have nicknamed him Slanty so that when put together with his last name it sounds oddly similar to Santa Claus. That wouldn’t be too bad except he also happens to live on North Road. Every year he gets mail misdirected to his house from children writing to St. Nick. One day he receives a visit from an elf who tells him he needs to play the role of Santa for this year. Well, Slanty isn’t having any of it and puts up a huge fuss and then protests some more, but fusses and protests are no match for Christmas magic and soon his yard is festive, his home warm and cozy – all completely against his wishes and leaving him to think about what he must do to make this all go away.
Slanty is a fun character – he is unapologetically mean, cranky, spiteful. His stroll to the post office where he was forced to interact with townspeople was fun as his took their ‘happiness’ and gave them reason to be fearful, scared, or indignant. In the same fashion, Slanty tries this on Elf D., however, it’s hard to put down the Christmas spirit and Elf D. shows himself to be more than a match for Slanty. Plus, Slanty’s dog, Trix, is working against him too.
At the beginning of each chapter is a nice-sized colorful illustration showing a scene from that chapter. My personal favorite is Chapter 6 showing Slanty’s reaction to his newly-decorated front yard.
Overall, a fun Christmas read that fans of A Christmas Carol and the How the Grinch Stole Christmas will enjoy.
Rating: 4.5 stars