Books by Delana Bettoli

Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Seabrooke presents a problematic fictionalized account of the circumstances in which Moore wrote the famous Christmas poem. The story describes Moore's home and family and provides some background on life in Manhattan in 1822. Bettoli's charming illustrations, reminiscent of dePaola, capture the styles and household details of the period, reinforcing the old-fashioned ambiance. Moore's motivations for writing the poem as well as possible influences from other literature and the Dutch culture of the area are woven into the story, and his six-year-old daughter, Charity, provides a focus for young readers. The proud father reads his newly completed poem to his family on Christmas Eve, and the text of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" is included within the story. There is no author's note to indicate the research sources, nor is there a badly needed additional note on authorial attribution. There is considerable controversy in the academic world as to whether Moore was actually the author of the famous poem, rendering the wisdom of this whole enterprise questionable. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
THIS IS THE STABLE by Cynthia Cotten
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

With a gentle, perfectly rhyming text, this cumulative tale presents the Nativity story in a beautifully illustrated version just right for younger children. The patterned text introduces each component of the Nativity scene, always returning to the soothing refrain of "the quiet stable, dusty and brown." The poetic words have the rhythmic, repetitive cadences of a Christmas carol, and in fact, the text can be sung to the traditional English carol, "The Friendly Beasts." Bettoli's mixed-media paintings feature swirling lines, bright flowers and patterned borders. Mary and Joseph clearly come from the Middle East, and the Three Wise Men are of three different ethnicities. Her interpretation includes many birds and the subtle images of feathered wings, with the final spread presenting the angel host gathered over Bethlehem and the edge of the midnight-blue sky flowing off the page like a great bird. Children will be drawn to the appealing cover showing the dusty, brown stable with Mary and Joseph approaching. Against a background of flying birds and feathery wings, the title stands out in huge, shiny red letters, inviting readers inside. (Picture book. 2-8)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

Mrs. McMurphy, who lives by herself "on a farm at the edge of the woods," finds her routine interrupted four days before Halloween by "a large pumpkin with a wicked, wicked grin sitting in the hall by her front door." The pumpkin greets her, "My mouth is here. I speak to you. When my teeth are here, I'll eat you!" Mrs. McMurphy dispatches the pumpkin with wit and aplomb, but it returns daily until Halloween, when children in costume receive slices of warm, sweet pumpkin (!) pie. Repetition, cumulation, and predictability are the perfect ingredients for a great read-aloud. Children will delight in the ways that Mrs. McMurphy tries to get rid of the pumpkin, and enjoy repeating the pumpkin's daily threat. Bettoli fills her cheerful gouache and acrylic illustrations with interesting details, including the antics of a cat and a mouse, animals in the borders, and calendar pages for the days leading to the holiday, making this a perfect little-bit-but-not-too-scary Halloween treat. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >