A pleasant but forgettable effort.

WHEN, WHEN, WHEN WILL IT BE CHRISTMAS?

A slight, rather confusing Christmas story about a group of children in costume performing a Christmas pageant.

The first few pages show groups of animals engaged in different activities to prepare for Christmas. Tiny red birds decorate a huge, red bow with sprigs of holly, and mice in pink tutus cut snowflakes out of paper and then frost a white cake with mouse snowmen on top. Six striped cats frolic through a forest together and select a Christmas tree, reindeer hang Christmas lights, and a group of rabbits wraps lots of presents. Then the action abruptly shifts to a Christmas pageant, with costumed children who are dressed as the animals from the previous pages. The children all sleep in their own beds (shown all in a long row) for Christmas Eve night, then reappear in costume to celebrate on Christmas Day. The text relies on repeated adjectives, the titular refrain, and lots of jolly language and exclamation marks, but there isn’t much of a plot. The illustrations in acrylic paints are appealing, with a cast of multiethnic children and clever details in costumes and the group bedtime scene. There are some logical lapses between art and text, as in the illustration of pink-clad gray mice facing text that describes “white, white mice” and another that fails to depict rabbits in the pageant cast.

A pleasant but forgettable effort. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-907152-27-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boxer Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Another snowy day book, but not special enough to recall Keats’ masterpiece.

WINTER IS FOR SNOW

A paean to wintertime and especially its snowy weather, this picture book fails to match the achievement of the many others that deal with this popular theme.

The child pictured in the jacket art is an unabashed lover of all things winter, and in rhyming text, he extols the season’s virtues to his curmudgeonly younger sister. Her responses (also rhyming) resist his enthusiastic praise of snowball fights, skating and the beauty of snowflakes “glittering like diamond dust.” Since the book ends up being about her eventual, grudging warming up to wintertime, it’s curious that she doesn’t appear on the cover, and her change of heart seems rather abrupt, reading; “Winter is for all these things? / Is it really so? / Winter might not be so bad. // Winter is for SNOW!” Such pat lines are par for the course in the text, which isn’t so much a story as it is a list. Illustrations show greater achievement, particularly in scenes depicting many characters milling about a snowy city landscape, evoking an animationlike flair.

Another snowy day book, but not special enough to recall Keats’ masterpiece. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7831-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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