An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the...

CLICK, CLACK, HO! HO! HO!

Cronin and Lewin are back with a Christmas story to add to their popular series starring the barnyard buddies from Click, Clack, Moo (2000) and its many successors.

Duck is all ready for Christmas Eve, as evidenced by the Santa hat he wears in a close-up view on the cover. Farmer Brown is preparing for Christmas inside the house, hanging up stockings for some of the animals (but alas, not for poor Duck). Outside, Duck has constructed a zip line running downhill from the barn to the house. Wearing his night-vision goggles, Duck zips over to the house and then tries to go down the chimney before Santa’s arrival. “HO! HO! Uh-oh. Duck is stuck.” In turn, each group of animals zips over to “go up and unstuck Duck” and gets stuck themselves before Santa breaks up the chimney bottleneck in a hilarious, sooty conclusion. A final wordless page shows Santa flying off again, wearing Duck’s night-vision goggles. This is a Christmas story that has it all: beloved characters, physical humor, and an original idea, as well as a short, funny text that effectively uses repeated phrases. Lewin’s loose watercolor illustrations with bold outlines are cozy in the interior scenes and magical in the outdoor settings, with midnight blue skies, dots of white snow, and a hazy full moon that shows off Santa and his reindeer.

An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the Click Clack crowd. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9673-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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