Deck the Halls

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Deck the Halls Book Poster Image
Nostalgic holiday book is more a tribute to Norman Rockwell.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive messages

People everywhere are shown filled with holiday spirit.

Positive role models & representations

There's little to glean from this simple presentation, but Rockwell always shows happy families in harmony.

Violence & scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this pairing of classic Norman Rockwell paintings with the favorite American Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" presents a very traditional, nostalgic message as well as being a tribute to Rockwell's artwork.

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What's the story?

Beginning with the jolliest Santa any reader could imagine, page after page presents lines of "Deck the Halls," each accompanied by a full-paged festive holiday painting by Norman Rockwell. Though Christmas-themed, this is is more a tribute to the artwork than a Christmas story in song. Rockwell fans, especially, will appreciate the pages in the back of the book where the paintings are identified by title, year of painting, and place of first publishing.

Is it any good?

The song is familiar as is the classic Rockwell artwork, which is full of the excitement and warmth of folksy Americana for which he is so well known. His Christmas-themed paintings, chosen to go along with lines of the song, are a perfect fit, especially for the joy in the "Deck the Halls" chorus. Fa-la-la-la-la's ring through the crisp snowy morning as kids sled down the hill at exhilirating speed. And, though not quite so exuberantly, they jingle with excited anticipation as pajamaed boys and girls peer wide-eyed through the window, awaiting Santa.

This book sums up traditional American ideas of what Christmas is all about, especially when looked through the nostaligic eye. However, it is a very '40s and '50s kind of look, comfortably cheerful but, except for the one "Golden Rule" painting, lacking in cultural diversity and inclusiveness.

The book is a showcase for Norman Rockwell's famous art.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rockwell's art while they sing along ot the carol. Each painting is a story in itself, full of children, dogs, parents, grandparents, mail carriers, all anticipating, enjoying, and otherwise filling the world with holiday spirit. What are the kids doing? Look at their faces.

  • How do you think they are feeling? How do you feel when Christmas is coming? What kinds of things do you enjoy during the holidays?

Book details

For kids who love the holidays

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