’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

OR, ACCOUNT OF A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS

In a full-page introductory note, Tavares (Zachary’s Ball, 2000) details the origins of the famous poem (attributed to Clement C. Moore some years after its first publication in a NY newspaper in 1823), which spurred the tradition in the US of hanging up stockings to be filled by St. Nicholas. The text here uses the first known form of the poem, with original punctuation, spelling, grammar (“He sprung to his sleigh . . . ”), and reindeer names restored (Dunder and Blixem rather than Donder and Blitzen). Hence the designation of an anonymous author, as well. Tavares provides monochromatic pencil illustrations with old-fashioned details and a period setting complementary with the poem’s original period, but his sophisticated perspectives and cinematic lighting pull the whole into the modern era. Through varying viewpoints the reader looks up into the sky as the reindeer and sleigh soar over tall houses; in another illustration the reader looks down on the father as he throws his head back to look up at the noises on the roof; and in the following illustration, the reader looks down the stairs along with the father at Santa unloading his pack. A narrow ribbon of green borders the illustrations and the text pages, which have a subtle shading of green at the top to add some additional color. The moody illustrations suggest the drama and excitement of the magical night in an unusual way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1585-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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