The Christmas Feast

h1 December 15th, 2020 by jules


In the mood for a French holiday import? Today, I’ve got some spreads from Nathalie Dargent’s The Christmas Feast (Eerdmans, August 2020), illustrated by Magali Le Huche. It’s a book the author says is inspired by her admiration for Scheherazade and her appetite for good food.

This is the tale of a turkey, stolen by three wily, if dim-witted, creatures (the wolf, the fox, and the weasel). The trio is hungry for a Christmas feast, just as the title promises. But little do they know that they’ve snagged a clever turkey, who turns the table on the creatures as soon as she is let out of the bag. “Oh, what a mess it is here!” she exclaims, as they all get to work straightening up. Turkey takes charge until the place is clean and they’re eating a meal together. (Turkey demanded, after all, they head out to gather some ingredients.) After their meal together, they play cards and have a lovely time.

This is how their days pass—they even decorate for Christmas together, as pictured above—and when Turkey raises an “important question” on Christmas Eve, the wolf, the fox, and the weasel are flabbergasted. How would they like to cook her? she asks.

The three friends/former enemies find a solution, which I won’t ruin for you (though there may be a hint below in the artwork). Maybe you can find a copy of this one before the holidays to find out what happens. It’s mighty fun, what with the characters’ big, expressive eyes; the illustrator’s energetic linework; the wry humor; and, best of all, Turkey’s smarts.

In her recent list (in the 31 Days, 31 Lists series) of the best 2020 Translated Picture Books, Betsy Bird describes this one as “My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza but jacked up to 11.” Truth!

Also, the final illustration in this book, which I’ll leave for you as a surprise (though Betsy reveals it, if you’d like to go read her post), is worth the price of admission alone, as they say. Is the story as heartwarming as indicated before this final comic rimshot of an illustration? Could there be more to Turkey than meets the eye?

Here are some spreads. Enjoy!


“One year, the wolf, the fox, and the weasel decided to
treat themselves to a Christmas feast. …”

(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“As Christmas approached, the three companions still washed their paws grudgingly before sitting down for dinner, but they had started to like all those good meals. …”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


” … And so Turkey prepared the Christmas feast herself.”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


(Click cover to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

THE CHRISTMAS FEAST. © Éditions Glénat 2008. Original title of the work: Le Festin de Noël. Authors: N. Dargent & M. Le Huche. First published in the United States in 2020 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. IIllustrations reproduced by permission of Eerdmans.

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