The subtitle for the book is “A Very Confused Christmas,” and many young readers will indeed be confused.

READ REVIEW

MISSILE TOE

A VERY CONFUSED CHRISTMAS

A dozen humorous poems are inspired by Christmas-related words or phrases as a child might mishear them.

The cover and related title poem, “Missile Toe,” focus on a soccer player by that name. He is a boy with brown skin who always leaps too high and misses scoring. This time, he still leaps but gently taps the ball in as the other players “hugged and kissed beneath Missile Toe.” Most of the other poems focus on traditional Christmas songs, with some sort of humorous twist on the title or a line from the song as the poem’s theme, as in the poems “O Holey Knight” and “The Wee Kings of Orientar.” The poem “Deck the Halls” riffs on a phrase that many a child has found mysterious. There is no title page or author’s note to identify the original songs. Most of the poems require a level of background knowledge  that is beyond the capacity of the intended audience, and the humor would need to be explained to children. A few poems stand on their own, such as “Johnny Oats Ate Nicholas,” about a puppy named Johnny Oats who eats Nicholas the guppy (though it may take saying the title a few times to understand the sonic confusion), and “I’ll Be a Gnome for Christmas.” Amusing, action-filled illustrations include children of different ethnicities. Santa is white; the Wise Men have brown skin.

The subtitle for the book is “A Very Confused Christmas,” and many young readers will indeed be confused. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58536-371-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Sure to be poopular with party planners, particularly those with strong stomachs and a hands-on approach.

THE GREAT BIG POOP PARTY

The you-know-what hits the fan after a lad’s parents rashly allow him to pick a theme for his birthday party.

Julian insists, and so after the party store poops out, everyone sets to cranking out homemade poop-up invitations, “poopsicles” and “lollypoops,” costumes, and games like “Pin-the-Poop-on-the-Toilet.” But will anyone drop in? Do they ever—in such massive streams that even the local news team catches wind of the event. Better yet, dancing the “Doo-Doo Doo-op” to tunes from the Dookie-Poo band and whacking the poop piñata, everyone has a blast. The party assumes such legendary status that news of it spreads around the world, prompting Julian and his family to create a graphic instruction manual together. Galán goes to town with swirling scenes in saturated hues with lots of brown, featuring hyped-up figures with wide eyes and huge grins. Julian’s family appears to be an interracial one, with an Asian-presenting dad and White-presenting mom whose attitudes modulate from disgust to delight over the course of the story. Readers inspired to organize poop parties of their own will find models for suitable decorations in the pictures. A caveat: The recipe for poop slime that Berger applies to the tail end uses glue and baby oil, among other ingredients, but is not labeled as inedible. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 65% of actual size.)

Sure to be poopular with party planners, particularly those with strong stomachs and a hands-on approach. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23787-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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