The Naughty List

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The Naughty List
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
September 22, 2015
ISBN
9780062354754
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When Bobbie's hilariously bumbling efforts to save her brother's Christmas actually land him on Santa's Naughty List, she must travel to the North Pole to make things right again and save Christmas. Bobbie suddenly finds herself on an epic holiday adventure complete with rogue elves, dysfunctional reindeer, a lazy Santa, and more.

Editor reviews

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You think YOUR holidays are stressful?
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Bobbie usually loves Christmas, but this year it is not making her happy. Her father is living away from the family for his job, and no one has taken down the annoying, creepy Santa from the roof from last year. When Bobbie attempts to remove it, she manages to break her arm, so she decides to boycott Christmas. It's not easy with her younger brother, though, who wants an expensive video game. When she tries to win one in a contest in a store, she ends up accidentally leaving the store with the game... without paying for it. She doesn't feel right about it, but is soon caught up in bigger problems. Some of Santa's elves show up in a closet, and she realizes that her Uncle Dale, who likes to wear a metal strainer on his head for protection, is not as crazy as he seems. There is a problem with children being put on the naughty list when they ought not to be, and soon Bobbie and Dale are traveling to the North Pole to help out. There are all sorts of wacky adventures to be had, with evil snow angels, aggressive reindeer, and a Santa Claus who is nothing like the one that Bobbie has seen in classic Christmas movies like Ninja Claus 5: Electric Bugaloo (which is, of course, about "trying to save this elf resort in Barbados with a huge fundraiser/fireworks show", page 92 of E ARC). Christmas is in danger because of out-of-whack technology, but can Bobbie and her uncle work together with Santa's team to save it?
Good Points
This was a notebook novel, and was fun because aside from Potterwookie, Dragonbreath, and Stan and the Toilet Monster, not many notebook novels are speculative fiction stories. The illustrations by Michael Fry (The Odd Squad series) will appeal to readers, although are oddly reminiscent of Berke Breathed's Bloom County comic strip to a distracting degree. Younger readers will not have this association.

Bobbie starts off very angry at everyone around her and unwilling to help out her brother very much, but she does start to see that her moods affect her entire family. Character development, however, takes a back seat to the sheer silliness of the inhabitants of the North Pole and the wacky ways that Christmas must be saved. Instead of Rudolph, there is Larry, with light up antlers, and Santa is a bitter, curmudgeonly sort.

There are very few middle grade Christmas stories, and there are a few readers who ask for them. Any Wimpy Kid reader will be delighted to find this book in a Christmas stocking, but be warned-- I wouldn't give it to a child who still believed in Santa Claus, so be careful that it is kept away from younger brothers and sisters who might not find the humor in Santa being kidnapped and trussed up by the worst kid on the naughty list!
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