Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol Storybook

Published: October 30, 2019
Categories: Feature, Reviews

Want to win a free copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol: The Illustrated Holiday Classic?? Read through to the end of this article for details!

What happens when a book is adapted into a film, and then that film is adapted back into a book?  Oh, and the Muppets’ signature brand of chaos is involved too?  Put all that together, and you’ve got The Muppet Christmas Carol: The Illustrated Holiday Classic.

The book – now available in stores and online – has a difficult task to not only condense the Charles Dickens novel into about 40 pages, but to do so without losing any of the iconic moments from the Muppets’ (arguably more classic) version.

I’m pleased to report that author Brooke Vitale does a commendable job retelling the story, doing justice to both Dickens and Henson.  Ebeneezer Scrooge still goes through his transformation and time travels with a bunch of ghosts.  Gonzo and Rizzo still narrate.  Tiny Tim lives and then dies and then lives again.  All the hits are there.

But we also have a whole bunch of memorable moments from the film to remind us that it’s not just “A Christmas Carol” with frogs and pigs and bears.  It’s also full of scenes that made the cut into the storybook like, “Light the lamp, not the rat” and Kermit watching the shooting star.  It’s such a great reminder into why the movie is so great and worthy of an adaptation like this.

The biggest props definitely go to artist Luke Flowers (whose work we spotlighted here on ToughPigs back in 2017).  Flowers is the ideal artist for a Muppet film adaptation, not only because he has such a knowledge and respect for the characters (which he does), but also because his style evokes the essence of the Muppets while being cheerful, colorful, and the perfect balance between exaggeration and realism.

Not just that, but Flowers also manages to sneak in all of the very best Easter eggs.  When you look through the book, be sure to scope out every background character (many of which are actual characters from the film), shop names (continuing a grand tradition from the film), and book titles (i.e. “Banjo for Frogs” and “Puppetry 101”).

Selfishly, I have to point out the image above.  Luke Flowers paid us the most incredible honor by giving Gonzo the book “Tough Pigs” to read during Scrooge’s visit to his old boarding school.  Not only that, but the author of the book is “J.H.”, with a cover photo that looks remarkably like me.  So my own lifelong goal of being illustrated into an official Muppet book has come true!

I love the idea that in Dickensian London, well before the internet (and, therefore, blogs) existed, Muppet fandom would have to be published in hardbound book form.  Therefore, ToughPigs would most certainly be a book one might find on a rickety shelf in Sam the Eagle’s classroom.

Also, I am now an official Muppet Christmas Carol character.  Someone add it to the Muppet Wiki.

Seriously: Luke, if you’re reading this, thank you!  You made this Muppet nerd very happy.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol: The Illustrated Holiday Classic” is a terrific adaptation (of an adaptation), and absolutely belongs on your holiday reading list.  It’s fun and gorgeous and full of Muppets and holiday cheer.  How could you go wrong?

My only hope is that this is the first in a series of Muppet film storybooks.  I would love to see Vitale and Flowers tackle The Muppet Movie or The Great Muppet Caper.  Or maybe even new Muppet stories??  As long as Luke Flowers gets to play in the Muppet sandbox, everyone is happy.

Thanks for reading all the way through this review!  If you want a free copy of this book (courtesy of the publisher Insight Editions), just head over to our Twitter account, be sure you’re following us, and then retweet the contest tweet.  A lucky winner will be chosen on Friday, November 1st. Good luck!

Click here to read the online version of the hardbound classic ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes –

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