Bring this one ho-ho-home.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

A visual treatment of an old poem that’s both nostalgic and fresh.

The cover art focuses on St. Nick driving his airborne sleigh against the full moon. Flying reindeer pulling the sleigh break the cover’s right edge, leading into the book. The illustrations’ soft style establishes an old-fashioned look. Long’s central artistic conceit is revealed at the bottom of the picture, where he establishes four settings that Santa visits: a cityscape, a farm, a trailer park, and a palm-tree–dotted neighborhood. It’s refreshing to see artistic acknowledgement of Christmastime outside of snowy, rural, Rockwellian settings, and the endpapers show characters to be as diverse as their homes: an interracial sibling pair decorates a tree; a child who appears Black drafts a letter to Santa; two brown-skinned children draw a large fireplace scene; and three White-appearing children, one using a wheelchair, make cookies. The “right jolly old elf” himself is decidedly elfin, with a diminutive stature, and presents White with a ruddy complexion. In keeping with other versions, parents are depicted as the “I” of the text, and Long maintains his commitment to inclusion and diversity in their characterization as he switches among settings to show them encountering Santa. These shifts don’t follow a rigid sequence, and seasonal details in décor (several crèche scenes, stockings, trees, and even a menorah on the mantelpiece in the evidently bicultural urban home) offer additional visual interest.

Bring this one ho-ho-home. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-286946-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more