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Courier & Press Article by Carol Cariens
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some Classic Characters Bound To Be On the "Naughty" List

It's that time of the year again-time to start thinking about the list.  You, know, THE list.  Santa's long list of boys and girls who have been naughty and nice this year-THAT list.  If you've been mentally trying to tabulate your good deeds vs. your transgressions, you might want to think about some classic examples of naughtiness from children's literature before you sell yourself short-chances are your good points will skyrocket, compared to these three characters.  Have a look.

Some fifty-odd years ago Theodore Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) penned a character so despicable that he made Ebenezer Scrooge look like a second cousin to Little Mary Sunshine.  Who was this vile creature?  The one who was "...as cuddly as a cactus...as charming as an eel...a bad banana with a greasy black peel?"  Yes, dear readers, we're talking about none other than the Grinch himself, the one who stole Christmas from the Whos of Who-ville.  Get re-acquainted with the Grinch, reindeer-antlered Max, and all the Whos, including little Cindy-Lou Who, in the deluxe 50th Anniversary Retrospective edition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  For an added treat check out the CD from the book's original TV adaptation and listen to Thurl Ravenscroft's booming bass voice as he enumerates the vices of Mr. Grinch, including (my favorite), "your heart is full of unwashed socks."  Now, that's nasty!

When I think of an elegant Christmas, I think of New York City: Central Park, the Rockefeller Center and its' breath-taking Christmas tree, and that epitome of gracious living itself, The Plaza Hotel.  Author/actress/singer Kay Thompson created a series of books starring six-year-old Eloise, the enfant terrible of The Plaza, who lives on the top floor.  Whether she is running up and down the many hallways, playing elevator tag, or calling Room Service for the umpteenth time, Eloise is, according to Mr. Salomone the Plaza's Manager, a big nuisance.  But what a sweet nuisance!  Eloise does all the naughty, naughty things that we would love to do and she does them with such élan!  Book yourself into the Plaza for a return visit with Eloise, Nanny, Weenie, and Skipperdee, as they prepare to celebrate the Yuletide in Eloise at Christmastime.  Despite Eloise's meddling, the holiday was (in the words of Nanny) "rawther" wonderful.

I've always wondered why dictionaries do not feature a picture of Curious George when defining "mischievous".  He is, after all, the epitome of the word.  All of us have read, re-read and re-read some more the escapades of H.A. and Margret Rey's beloved character-from riding a bike, to taking a job, to getting a medal, to learning the alphabet, to flying a kite.  We've continued to read the further mis-adventures of George in board book, 8x8 picture book, and even easy reader formats written by a variety of authors.  For a December treat share Merry Christmas, Curious George starring the irrepressible monkey himself (along with The Man in the Yellow Hat), thanks to a collaboration between author Cathy Hapka and artist Mary O'Keefe Young.  The final full-page artwork will make H.A. and Margret proud.  It's pure George.

Here's wishing all of us naughty (and nice) characters a very happy holiday season.