A MONSTER AT
Here’s an illustrated
Christmas tale we can all enjoy, an extended 44-page poem about a little boy
terrorized by toothy monsters that emerge from his closet on Christmas Eve.
It’s the scary flip-side of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a genuinely dark
evocation of mirth and nastiness that directly recalls the Brothers Grimm at
Thomas Canty was the writer and Phil Hale (of Stephen King’s DARK TOWER books) the illustrator. The text and pictures go hand in hand, each complimenting the other. As fine as Canty’s macabre stanzas are, they work best in tandem with Hale’s dense illustrations, done in a classical Rockwellian style that gives this freaky account a disarmingly cozy aura reminiscent of any number of beloved holiday stories. Yet the creatures pictured are nightmare-inducing creations, emaciated humanoid things with beady doll eyes and huge mouths lined with sharp teeth.
A MONSTER AT CHRISTMAS
is, finally, a profoundly screwed-up piece of work. Its ultimate outrage is
saved for the last page, in which a profoundly bleak yet darkly comedic twist is
unveiled that moves the tale from Brothers Grimm territory into the realm of