Picks and Pans Review: A One-Minute Christmas Stories

updated 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Adapted by Shari Lewis

Lamb Chop the hand puppet had better watch out. His mistress, author of the similarly minimalist One-Minute Animal Stories and One-Minute Greek Myths, seems to be in a mood to cut out the fat, and one of these evenings he might find himself lying next to a dab of mint jelly. This bright, cheery collection includes 20 two-page tales, from the well-known (the story of the New York Sun's "Yes, Virginia" letter and the classic Clement C. Moore poem, The Night Before Christmas) to the unusual, such as the traditional Italian story of La Befana, who distributes presents every year to make up for having turned away the Wise Men when they stopped to ask directions, and Bret Harte's "How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar." It would have been helpful to include sources for the stories to guide those who would like to read them at greater length, but the condensations are nonetheless appealingly rendered, with colorful drawings by illustrator Jan Palmer. This is a book that will be appreciated by those with scant moments of leisure who still want to cater to the season's tiny attention spans. (Doubleday, $6.95)

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