THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS

This revision of Cooney's Christmas (1967) is aimed at a religiously diverse audience. The word Christian has been all but eliminated; the New Testament quotations have been omitted. Herod's charge to the Wise Men, the Slaughter of the Innocents, and the Flight into Egypt are gone. What remains is a good brief history of ancient midwinter festivals and how they became melded with the Christian celebration. Present-day European and American customs are described (Santa's visits are presented as fact); end matter includes a recipe and directions for making a clove-studded orange and a pinecone bird feeder. Krupinski's pretty illustrations are appropriately nostalgic. Institutions concerned about the religious content of their materials will be comfortable with this presentation; Christian readers may find it somewhat blunt. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-023433-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

KEENA FORD AND THE FIELD TRIP MIX-UP

Keena Ford’s second-grade class is taking a field trip to the United States Capitol. This good-hearted girl works hard to behave, but her impulsive decisions have a way of backfiring, no matter how hard she tries to do the right thing. In this second book in a series, Keena cuts off one of her braids and later causes a congressman to fall down the stairs. The first-person journal format is a stretch—most second graders can barely write, let alone tell every detail of three days of her life. Children will wonder how Keena can cut one of her “two thick braids” all the way off by pretend-snipping in the air. They will be further confused because the cover art clearly shows Keena with a completely different hairdo on the field trip than the one described. Though a strong African-American heroine is most welcome in chapter books and Keena and her family are likable and realistic, this series needs more polish before Keena writes about her next month in school. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3264-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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