A vibrant, fun, and appealingly straightforward holiday tale.

SILLY SAM THE ELF

A CHRISTMAS STORY BOOK FILLED WITH MAGIC

A simple, illustrated Christmas story about an elf who gets into some mild mischief at Santa Claus’ workshop.

Silly Sam is one of Santa’s elves, and he loves to make people happy. This picture book follows him on his adventures in the North Pole, from building toys in the workshop to making special treats for his friends. On Christmas Eve, he sees Santa’s suit hanging on a hook in Santa’s workshop,but Santa is nowhere to be found. Sam decides that his next silly plan will be to stuff the suit with stuffed animals and other items to bulk it up, and then wear it to surprise the other elves. After Santa finds him, Sam believes that he’s about to get in trouble for his shenanigans, but Santa realizes that the magic of the suit has worn off on the elf, and so he invites Sam to help him deliver presents. Lindsey’s writing style is entertaining and colorful, but simple and straightforward enough for very young children to easily understand. Peres’ colorful illustrations are visually appealing and enhance the storytelling, and the characters are likable and earnest. The narrative lacks a clear theme or message, and therefore may be less interesting to older children, but the story’s simplicity is likely to captivate younger readers.

A vibrant, fun, and appealingly straightforward holiday tale.

Pub Date: July 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-954893-00-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Amp Services, LLC

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2021

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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