"Renie the Meanie was a bad little girl from the tips of her toes to her ponytail's curl."

Renie the Meanie is a naughty little girl who places a tack on her teacher's chair and replaces her friend's shampoo with glue, among other ill-spirited pranks. When her parents try to correct her behavior, Renie only laughs. They warn her that Santa Claus doesn't give gifts to children who misbehave, yet Renie doesn't believe this and cannot understand why she ought to be good. On Christmas Eve, she sneaks downstairs to spy on Santa Claus, yet finds an unwelcome surprise instead.

While this picture book is a delightful example of smoothly flowing, melodic rhymes and families who are adherents of faiths other than Christianity, there are aspects of morality in this tale. Toward the end of the story, Renie meets Satan instead of Santa Claus. She is literally scared into behaving herself. Satan pokes three puncture marks into the little girl with his pitchfork, which convinces her parents that she did indeed have a close encounter with the devil. This prompts her parents to send for a priest. Renie confesses her sins, promises good behavior in the future, and pledges "to keep herself blessed."

The imagery of and references to Satan may be frightening for some small children. However, the devil does provide an interesting alternative to the classic "lump of coal" motif. Ahead of reading this story to children, parents may wish to prepare an explanation in the event that young minds fear the devil will come after them next.

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