AUNTIE CLAUS

A grand, if unsubtle, cousin to William Joyce’s Santa Calls (1993). Smug little rich girl Sophie Kringle has a great-aunt who lives in high style atop the palatial Bing Cherry Hotel, vacating only for her mysterious annual “business trip” between Halloween and Valentine’s Day. One year, Sophie stows away in Auntie Claus’s luggage, and ends up at the North Pole, pressed into hard service as an elf. When she catches sight of the Bad-Boys-And-Girls list, and finds her little brother’s name on it, she reacts with uncharacteristic, newly mustered compassion, erasing his name and adding her own in it’s place; suddenly she’s sharing a stage with Auntie, who turns out to be Santa’s sister and, having learned that it is better to give than to receive (“the first and final rule,” as Auntie calls it), is whisked home just in time for Christmas. Tall and slender in fur-trimmed red, Auntie Claus cuts as elegant a figure amidst the North Pole’s snowy bustle as she does in her sparsely appointed New York digs; most of Primavera’s expansive scenes are underlit to add an air of mystery, and presided over by looming background figures: Santa, the Statue of Liberty, a huge, moon-faced snowman. A promising bid for holiday bestsellerdom. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201909-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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