A sweet, cozy book to share with young children as Christmas approaches. (Picture book. 2-6)

IF ANIMALS CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS

From the If Animals series

Over a dozen types of animal families show how they would celebrate this holiday season.

Cheerful, star-spangled red endpapers usher in a sweet story of animals all over the world getting ready for Christmas with their families. Young Koala starts things off, counting down the days till Christmas. Little Oryx enjoys ringing bells, Hedgehog uses her quills to knit “a sweater for Hoglet with fancy frills.” A beaver, buffalo, penguins, and a narwhal are all part of the fun. The hustle and bustle hints at Christmas Eve, each outdoor scene set against a deep blue sky with bright stars and a smiling moon. Koala helps Papa bake “a yum-yum leafy, Santa-shaped cake,” while at the shore, crabs “build a seashell Christmas tree.” Caroling cranes sing in a choir, a frog looking on. Soft yet vibrant, clear colors enhance the mood, as the rounded figures of the animals prepare for Christmas in their individual ways. Animal sounds are highlighted in the text: “Tortoise would tuck in his head and hisssssssssssssss, / making a secret holiday wish.” Words curve around the gentle action in rhyming text, all leading up to the arrival of Polar Bear Santa. The simple, patterned format makes this a natural read-aloud for bedtime.

A sweet, cozy book to share with young children as Christmas approaches. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30901-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.

GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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