Next book


A forgettable effort without the spark of excitement required to light up a Christmas Eve story.

A little girl hears strange sounds on Christmas Eve, leading to encounters with a mouse, an elf, a reindeer, and Santa himself.

The unnamed girl seems isolated and lonely on Christmas Eve, creeping downstairs by herself. She hears a squeak and finds a smiling mouse, and they then hear a giggle and find an elf. The trio hears a “CLIP-CLOP!” and meets a red-nosed reindeer. They all move on to the Christmas tree, hearing a “Ho, Ho, HO!” and finding Santa. After sharing cookies with Santa, the girl and her new mouse friend settle down to wait for Christmas morning. The girl and the elf are white; Santa has light brown skin. The simple story tells of a “jolly Christmas Eve” with “joy gleaming bright,” but both the text and the illustrations fail to create a sense of anticipation or excitement. Computer-generated illustrations use a muted palette of green, lavender, and purple that conveys a subdued atmosphere rather than one of joyful celebration, and the cartoon-style characters lack a sense of motion. A few of the text blocks are set in black type on dark walls and are nearly unreadable. The title and cover are also misleading, as they imply the story is about a seemingly male elf, when it really is about a lonely little girl meeting new companions on Christmas Eve who cheer her up.

A forgettable effort without the spark of excitement required to light up a Christmas Eve story. (Picture book. 3-5)<

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8132-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Next book


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Next book


Let these crayons go back into their box.

The Crayons return to celebrate Easter.

Six crayons (Red, Orange, Yellow, Esteban, who is green and wears a yellow cape, White, and Blue) each take a shape and scribble designs on it. Purple, perplexed and almost angry, keeps asking why no one is creating an egg, but the six friends have a great idea. They take the circle decorated with red shapes, the square adorned with orange squiggles “the color of the sun,” the triangle with yellow designs, also “the color of the sun” (a bit repetitious), a rectangle with green wavy lines, a white star, about which Purple remarks: “DID you even color it?” and a rhombus covered with blue markings and slap the shapes onto a big, light-brown egg. Then the conversation turns to hiding the large object in plain sight. The joke doesn’t really work, the shapes are not clear enough for a concept book, and though colors are delineated, it’s not a very original color book. There’s a bit of clever repartee. When Purple observe that Esteban’s green rectangle isn’t an egg, Esteban responds, “No, but MY GOSH LOOK how magnificent it is!” Still, that won’t save this lackluster book, which barely scratches the surface of Easter, whether secular or religious. The multimedia illustrations, done in the same style as the other series entries, are always fun, but perhaps it’s time to retire these anthropomorphic coloring implements. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Let these crayons go back into their box. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-62105-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

Close Quickview