Deck the Walls

A Wacky Christmas Carol

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la la. How wonderful the old carol sounds. A vision of warm family gatherings peacefully celebrating the holiday season comes to mind. But wait, this doesn't sound like a peaceful family get-together. What is happening here? Deck the walls with mashed potatoes! Fa la la la la la la la la. Make a snowman with tomatoes. Fa la la la la la la la la. Author Erin Dealey has taken the old holiday classic and turned it on its head. In her riotous, raucous rendition of a family meal gone hilariously awry, you'll find food hockey, vegetable sculptures, crashing dishes, and grown-ups wondering what has gone wrong. From "Feed the dog our peas and carrots" to "Food tastes better when you wear it," readers young and old will never forget this new take on an old holiday carol!

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$14.99 $14.99
$26.99 $26.99
Interest Level Grade 1 - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey 782.42/1723 E
ATOS Reading Level
Guided Reading Level
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585368570), PDF (9781627530460), Hosted ebook (9781627536073)
Copyright 2013, 2014
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations

Deck the Walls A Wacky Christmas Carol

“Feed the dog our peas and carrots. / Fa la la la la la la la la! / Food tastes better when you wear it. / Fa la la la la la la la la.” Th e lyrics of the familiar Christmas carol have been rewritten to capture the essence of a chaotic holiday family gathering, with a houseful of rowdy cousins and harassed, overworked grownups. The illustrations are a bit too tame and pale for all of the bedlam described herein, but this reworking of an old chestnut is fresh and funny.

Deck the Walls A Wacky Christmas Carol

Let’s face it; wassailing and chestnuts just don’t accurately reflect most kids’ Christmases. Enter this fractious take on “Deck the Halls.” First, there is the big dinner with the extended family: “Uncle Harvey stands before us. / Fa la la la la / la la la la / Why do aunts and uncles bore us? / Fa la la la la / la la la la.” Dealey’s five rascally kids do plenty of eye rolling, rule breaking, and acting out, from shuttling veggies to the dog under the table to playing “olive hockey.” That is why, in short, this would make for an excellent sing-along—can’t you hear the entire school bellowing along? Ward nicely balances Dealey’s mayhem with shiny-cheeked, round-featured art that keeps the little hooligans just this side of lovable. Sheet music is included.

Kirkus Reviews "Deck the Walls"

This hilarious parody of the familiar Yuletide carol starts with mashed potatoes on the walls and ends with cousins sliding downhill in the snow and the whole family singing carols together.

The traditional Christmas song of “Deck the Halls” has a buoyant rhythm but relatively sedate words and images, such as boughs of holly. This version features a group of five cousins who like to mix things up and enjoy their food in some nontraditional ways. As the song begins, the cousins are mashing potatoes, flipping blobs onto the walls. The kids make a snowman out of tomatoes and more mashed potatoes and try olives on their fingers and celery stalks behind their ears. As the family dinner disintegrates, the cousins play olive hockey with celery-stalk sticks; major splashes of gravy result before sensible aunts and uncles intervene. Each line of text is interspersed with the traditional refrain of “Fa la la la la, la la la la” in large type, and the new song lyrics can be sung to the old tune, following along in suitably merry measure. Amusing illustrations and a large format make this a fine choice for singing along with a group, and the traditional words and music are also included.

“ ’Tis the season to be jolly,” after all, and this rollicking parody neatly fits the bill. (Picture book. 4-8)

Deck the Walls Activities

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Author: Erin Dealey

Erin Dealey's original career goal was Olympic Gold Medal tetherball player. When that didn't pan out, she became a teacher, theater director, actor, mom, and author--and now welcomes any opportunity to visit schools around the world. Her Sleeping Bear Press books include K is for Kindergarten and Deck the Walls: A Wacky Christmas Carol. She lives in northern California with her husband and a very energetic Golden Retriever. You can find her online at and on social media as @ErinDealey.

Illustrator: Nick Ward

Nick Ward has written and illustrated about sixty books, including How To Be a Practically Perfect Pig, The Naughtiest Ever Fairy series, and the extremely popular Don’t Eat the Teacher. Nick’s first children’s book was accepted for publication while he was still in college studying art. For the next few years he rented a studio and worked on his second book while creating illustrations for various record covers, greetings cards, corporations, and exhibitions.

Author/Illustrator biography
Full-color illustrations