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OK, here’s a pet peeve. I hate children’s books that try to have a rhyme scheme and don’t, especially if they’re knocking off something well known that originally did it right.

Case in point is this book I just suffered through tonight called The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas. Now the story is all right, but the authors decided to take The Night Before Christmas and adapt it to a new story line about the bears, and they didn’t do it well, so they put me through hell.

It begins with a simple homage to TNBC like this:

‘Twas the month before Christmas,
and all round the mall
the pre-Christmas traffic
had slowed to a crawl.
The stores were a-selling,
the horns were a-blowing,
the shoppers were
busily to-ing and fro-ing.

So far so good, but you turn the page and…

Even the family that lived
down the sunny dirt road
(for directions just ask
any chipmunk or toad)
and were usually full of
calm Christmas cheer &#151
they too were going
Christmas-crazy this year!

Good grief! I don’t know how anybody could write that, think it’s good, and still be able to walk down the street without tripping themselves. And where was the editor, I wonder? (And it gets even worse.)

(All quoted passages &copy Harper Collins Publishers, 2003.)