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The More the Merrier by Anne Fine
Published by Doubleday, 2003
ISBN 0385606184

Reviewed by Shannon Children’s Book Club

It’s Christmas time and the Mountfield house is full to bursting with assorted relatives, including Great Granny who threatens “If I had my own teeth I’d bite you”, Uncle Tristram who gives wrapped up half bricks as presents and spoilt cousin Titania who dresses in frilly fairy dresses and sings cutsie, sick making songs.

This story is told by young Ralph Mountfield who has been grounded in his room for causing a huge family fight. Following on from a disastrous Christmas Day dinner and a near riot at present opening, Mum is hiding in her room and making Dad promise to take her away to the Seychelles next Christmas.

However, there is happy ending when insulted relatives flounce off in anger leaving Mum, Dad, Ralph and his brother along with Uncle Tristram and Great Granny to enjoy what’s left of Christmas.

This was an easy to read and a very funny (pay close attention to the boys’ Christmas lists!) book. We learned from the Anne Fine website (www.annefine.co.uk) that the author doesn’t like Christmas and it shows. She writes that in this book she “peels back the nice surfaces of family life and shows what’s underneath”. We really liked this book and gave it a rating of 8 out of 10.