THE STORY OF KWANZAA

Washington's first book tells about the seven-day festival that begins on December 26 and celebrates the bounty of the earth (Kwanzaa means ``first fruits'' in Swahili) and teaches seven principles or beliefs—one for each day. Background comes in a brief history of Africans before slavery, slavery in America, the secession of the South and the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and the 1966 birth of the holiday. The seven principles teach African and African-American heritage, but they also reflect universal principles that everyone can live by. Bold, realistic illustrations are set off by elegant borders of African fabrics and designs. At the end are instructions on making a cow tail switch and a recipe for benne cakes. A fine primer on a holiday that is fast gaining recognition. (glossary) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-024818-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAD KITTY

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series , Vol. 2

Bad Kitty is back; and, just like every morning, she doesn’t want to get out of bed. Today, however, is a special day: Bad Kitty’s birthday! After a special alphabetical breakfast made of everything from Aardvark Bagels to Yak Zabaglione, Bad Kitty “helps out” with the decorations (i.e., destroys them). She picks out what she really wants from the Cat-alog of Cat Toys just before the guests start to arrive. She unwraps their… questionable gifts, which promptly vanish. Who is stealing them? Bad Kitty’s human gives her a truly hideous gift, and Bad Kitty has a major freakout until a special guest calms her down. Then Poor Puppy gives Kitty his homemade present, and it’s time for bed. Bruel’s follow-up to Bad Kitty Takes a Bath (2008) is nearly as much fun. Uncle Murray returns with his real facts about cats, and an appendix offers information on the breeds of each of the guests. The frenetic black-and-white illustrations are just plain hysterical, and the translations of Siamese Chatty Kitty’s blathering is a stitch. Fun for all, especially fans. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59643-342-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2009

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An earnest, emotionally honest effort with lovely illustrations complementing a sweet if sentimental message.

LOVE, SANTA

A girl named Lucy writes letters to Santa each Christmas as she comes to understand who Santa really is.

The story opens when Lucy is 5, as she prints her letter to Santa, tongue sticking out with the effort. The letter is shown in the accompanying illustration, and a facsimile letter is included in a fancy, gold envelope glued into the book. Lucy’s letters from the next two Christmases are included in similar, attached envelopes, along with two letters in red envelopes that Santa leaves in response. When Lucy is 8, she writes a note to her mom asking if she is Santa, on Christmas morning receiving a letter in one of Santa’s red envelopes but written by Lucy’s mom. This letter is long and sentimental, explaining that “parents” give the actual presents, but the spirit of Santa is real. Charming watercolor illustrations show Lucy’s development. One picture of Santa looking on in dismay as Lucy writes a doubtful letter (“Why does your handwriting look like my mom’s?”) introduces ambiguity about what’s real and what isn’t. (Lucy is also shown riding her bike without a helmet.) Lucy, her parents, and Santa are white; background figures are racially diverse. The admission of parental involvement in Santa’s gift deliveries may make it unsuitable in households with little ones who still believe in Santa’s magic.

An earnest, emotionally honest effort with lovely illustrations complementing a sweet if sentimental message. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-70030-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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