Lacking some of the charm of the longer books, this introduction to the world of the Doll People will still cultivate...

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THE DOLL PEOPLE'S CHRISTMAS

From the Doll People series

The beloved Doll People series of novels for middle graders extends to a younger audience with this Christmas story.

The Doll family of eight tiny, old-fashioned dolls belongs to a girl named Kate, who has custody of the family-heirloom dolls and their furnished Victorian dollhouse. Her younger sister, Nora, has her own modern, plastic dollhouse with a family of five plastic dolls, the Funcrafts. The dolls move and talk at night when the humans are asleep, and the daughters of the two families, Annabelle Doll and Tiffany Funcraft, are best friends. Annabelle is upset when Kate breaks the angel topper for the tiny dollhouse Christmas tree; this will upset her plans for a traditional Christmas. Further complicating things, Kate and Nora take all the dolls to their own living room and dress them as figures for their family Nativity scene, and minor plot difficulties ensue. Christmas morning brings filled stockings for the doll children, with a new star ornament for the dollhouse Christmas tree. Full-color illustrations and a large trim size create an overall contemporary milieu, in contrast to the black-and-white, nostalgic illustrations in the Doll People chapter books. All the human and doll characters are white; Annabelle Doll’s blue-green hair may well provoke puzzlement.

Lacking some of the charm of the longer books, this introduction to the world of the Doll People will still cultivate younger fans. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2339-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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