Illustrator: Karina Shor
Published by Exo Books LLC on September 1, 2018
Genres: Picture Book, Christmas
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Larry was just your regular caribou, who was cruelly excluded from his crew. He and his kin happened to be the sole Jewish reindeer in the North Pole. Larry was bullied and treated the worst way, until his plan saved one Christmas Day.
A contemporary satirical take on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Schmuck the Buck introduces Larry, a young Jewish reindeer. He overcomes his awkward and sometimes painful youth to save Christmas. His tale of acceptance and inclusion is sure to warm the hearts of anyone who loves Christmas, Hanukkah, or both. Sixty pages of vibrant illustrations bring his story to life.
I’m not quite sure who the audience is for Schmuck the Buck. It seems like a children’s Christmas book. We have a cute rhyming text and bright colorful illustrations. We have the underdog (or under-reindeer) who saves the day. There’s even a lesson:
Schmuck said, “We have our differences, that’s for sure,
But we’re all the same at the core.
Christmas isn’t just about gifts, but the love underneath,
So it really doesn’t matter your religious belief.
We give because we care, we love, and want to please,
So there’s room for every one of us under out Christmas trees.”
I’m not sure it’s a good lesson. I think it probably depends on the family. I know a lot of people celebrate Christmas, even people who don’t call themselves Christian. In our house, however, it’s definitely a religious holiday. It’s about love and giving and family too, but this is not a book I personally would buy.
So, on the one hand it seems like a kids book, but on the other, it definitely would appeal more to adults. The humor would go over a lot of kids heads and some of the illustration, although fun and playful, show the elves and reindeer drinking, smoking and showing off their tattooed rear-ends.
Schmuck the Buck was just not the holiday books for me and I probably won’t share it with any of my nieces or nephews.