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APPLE DAYS

A ROSH HASHANAH STORY

This is a simple story and on the face of it a slight one, but underneath, it’s an extremely moving tale.

This book will make readers hungry for applesauce.

There’s a theory that the old Disney live-action movies were popular because the kids acted like adults and the adults acted like kids. In this book, Katy has no choice but to act like an adult. Her aunt is in labor, and her mother can’t be home until after the baby is born. It’s the Jewish New Year, and Katy was expecting to make applesauce with her mom—following the family tradition—but all her dad can do is stare helplessly at the ingredients lined up on the counter. Katy starts typing on the computer until a recipe pops up. Younger readers may find it very satisfying when her father asks, “What’s next?” This book is full of such small, satisfying moments. The highlight may be a sequence in which, one by one, Katy’s friends, her rabbi and even the neighborhood crossing guard bring her apples. They know her mother is away. The characters in McMahon’s illustrations, painted in warm colors, all look like people readers might want to know. In the last scene, Katy reaches into her pocket and pulls out a jar of applesauce for the new baby. It’s just what an adult would do.

This is a simple story and on the face of it a slight one, but underneath, it’s an extremely moving tale. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1203-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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