This will be fun for a percentage of preschoolers; that’s about it.

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS

The Three Bears invite other fairy-tale characters to a Christmas Eve celebration and end up with their paws full.

All the Christmas festivities are set up for the guests’ enjoyment, but the party quickly becomes a mess. Rapunzel’s hair gets wrapped around the tree, and then she stumbles, knocking the wind out of Jack Frost, which causes a mighty, destructive gust. The squall is so powerful that Santa’s sleigh, in the air over the other side of the woods, is pulled to the ground and crashes into Baby Bear Lagoon. Sopping wet, Santa goes looking for help, flashlight in hand, and finds the Bears’ cottage. He is helping himself to Papa Bear’s clothes when he discovers there is a crowd, and they are all happy to come to his rescue. Working together, they make a plan and save Santa’s sleigh, the presents, and Christmas. Santa stays at the party a while before going off to deliver presents. Children familiar with the characters, like the Three Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood, will get a kick out of pointing them out in the bright, cartoonlike illustrations, which are effective in their storytelling despite being a bit garish. But despite nods to the fairy-tale originals, the actual plot is something of a bust. Santa is White, and the human and elf characters are fairly diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This will be fun for a percentage of preschoolers; that’s about it. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5460-1391-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more