A festive holiday celebration.

A SWEET MEETING ON MIMOUNA NIGHT

Jews in Morocco celebrate the end of Passover.

Miriam and her family live in Fès in Morocco, and as Passover concludes, she and her mother walk to the house of a Muslim family for flour. Miriam meets Jasmine, a girl her own age, and watches as her mother gifts Jasmine’s mother with a jar of fig jam in exchange for a sack of flour before inviting the family to join them for the Mimouna celebration. They hurry home, where Miriam helps set a table filled with food and symbols of good fortune, such as five gold coins. The highlights of the table are the moufleta that her mother fries. The paper-thin pancakes are spread with butter and jam and are a special treat at the end of a week of eating unleavened matzo. It is also the custom for families to go from house to house partaking of festive dinners and sharing in blessings for the coming year, and Jasmine joins in. Jasmine then invites Miriam to her upcoming Ramadan party, but Miriam declines. Her family is planning to immigrate to Israel, as indeed they do. The Mimouna holiday is relatively recent, about 250 years old, and its origins are unclear. There are currently celebrations in Israel and in New York. Families unfamiliar with Mimouna will welcome the discovery. Those whose cultures involve frying bread and visiting neighbors on holidays will also find connections here. The colorful illustrations are adorned with decorative patterns, and, yum, a recipe is included. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.6-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 58.6% of actual size.)

A festive holiday celebration. (afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-397-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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