ONE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS

A LITTLE SOULS TALE

Two creative sisters and their niece are the stars of this tale of red velvet curtains, pocket treasures, and giving. Francesca and Tori are talented women—a dressmaker and a hatmaker whose creations are known throughout the city. Isa loves to visit her aunts—their workshop is a fantastic place to play. Isa especially enjoys wrapping herself in the huge red velvet drapes and giving way to her imagination. On Christmas Eve, the aunts decide to replace the curtains and make a very special hat and coat for Isa out of the old red velvet ones—special, because they are made with “the fabric of your dreams.” Over the years, Isa imagines the coat to be many different things, and adds her treasures to its pockets, causing the coat to grow. Finally, on another Christmas Eve, a flustered old man comes to the sisters in need of a new velvet coat and hat. It is too late for the sisters to sew something, but perhaps Isa has the solution. Readers can enjoy the feel of Isa’s curtains—red velvet is used on the binding and the ribbons that tie the book closed. The back endpaper also features a moon-shaped pocket that holds the note Isa tucked into the jolly old man’s coat. The illustrations perfectly render the creative jumble of wonderful stuff that is the home of Isa’s busy aunts. The combination of photos and rich-colored drawings seems right at home in this workshop setting. A delightful new twist on Christmas giving. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-46786-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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