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

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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A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along.

THE CRAYONS TRICK OR TREAT

The Crayons return in time for Halloween as vampire-costumed Purple coaches the dressed-up wax pack through its first trick-or-treating venture.

It takes five houses’ worth of door-knocks for this skeleton crew of seven to perfect the protocol, with enough outlandish flubs to generate giggles in Halloween-savvy preschoolers. At Door No. 1, Orange, dressed as a jack-o’-lantern, says, “Give us your candy, Lady.” At the next, the gang, encouraged by Purple to “think holiday,” responds with an impressive array of misguided greetings, including “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy American Cheese Month!” Later, White, levitating impressively in a ghost costume, overreacts to Halloween’s “scary” aspect by overwhelming residents with a “BOO!” Peach, unnamed here but recognizably wrapperless from the initial title, exuberantly (and inappropriately) repeats, “I’m naked!” Finally, the troupe perfects its treat-inducing line, though a certain ghost cannot resist an ad lib. This excursion, like many of the holiday-themed Crayon books, has a smaller trim size, a lower price point, and far less complexity than Daywalt and Jeffers’ first two Crayon titles. Still, the pair deftly let young children in on the jokes through funny, hand-lettered dialogue and the visually telegraphed, all-in haplessness of this well-branded band. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-62102-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

HOW TO CATCH A WITCH

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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