Predictable, merry mayhem for children who love Christmas sweets.


After being accidentally left behind in Poinsettia, Santa’s puppy may be able to help the Kerstmans with their holiday spirit while he’s there.

Peppermint Bark stowed away on Santa’s sleigh. At the first stop, alerted by the sound of children arguing, the curious pup disembarked. Now, if he wants to get back to the North Pole, Peppermint Bark needs to find and go through one of the portals that Santa uses to manage all his deliveries before Christmas ends. Luckily, young Chris Kerstman can understand exactly what Peppermint Bark is saying and vows to help him. Older sister Holly is not susceptible to the magic…yet. She might not assist with the search except for the fact that her friend Ivy, who is visiting over the holiday, can hear the pup, too. While the premise is a stretch, the quest brings about plenty of cheerful chaos and leads to the expected warm observations about family and friends. The Kerstmans are white, Ivy is Japanese American, and the cast of townsfolk superficially represent other cultural backgrounds. Plus elves and reindeer. As her family does not celebrate the holiday, Ivy is with the Kerstmans in order to learn about its traditions. There are passing references to Nativity scenes, but the focus is on the secular.

Predictable, merry mayhem for children who love Christmas sweets. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-358-05184-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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