A pleasant party bonbon.

When the family hires the man in the big, brown bear suit to entertain at Billy's birthday party, many surprises follow.

He wears a little purple hat and is greeted with cheers by the party guests. After voraciously consuming the proffered tea and biscuits, he lets out a surprising "BURP!" (Both Mom and Dad notice his bad manners.) The children chase him through the door, and he slips on a skateboard, spinning and whirling before crashing into a lamp. The kids love it, but the parents are rather horrified, even more so when he eats a bunch of flowers and glugs down all the water in the jug. The children want to try on his suit, but they can't seem to get it off...or even find a zipper. The Entertainer finds the birthday spread and eats it all, triggering a big sprawling snooze right there on the table. (Luckily, Mom had put the cake in the fridge.) Frazzled Mom and Dad are exhausted by the end of the party, but Billy wants to have him back next year. The doorbell rings; who should be standing in the doorway but a real man in a bear suit. Dodd's illustrations are colorful, and her story rhymes briskly, with droll, two-couplet etiquette tips tucked into page corners. Children, of course, will have tumbled to the Entertainer’s real identity long before the characters do.

A pleasant party bonbon. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0078-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how many mediocre sequels you can squeeze out of Seussian property.

Since a reformed Grinch is hardly any fun, this follow-up Grinches him up once more.

Those seeking more of the same, prepare to receive precisely that. Christmas is coming (again!), and the Grinch can hardly wait. He’s been patient all year, and now he can finally show the Whos down in Who-ville how much he’s changed. When the Grinch learns of a tree-decorating contest, he figures that if he wins, it’ll prove he truly has the Christmas spirit. He throws himself into the task, but when it comes time to judge the trees, the Grinch is horrified to discover that he’s received only the second-place trophy. Can Cindy-Lou Who find the words to save the day? Replicating many of the original beats and wordplay of the original, this tale feels like less a sequel and more like a vaguely rewritten variation. Meanwhile, Ruiz’s art seeks to bridge the gap between the animated Chuck Jones version of the Grinch and the one depicted in the original book. This thankless task results in a strange uncanny valley between Seuss and Jones but does allow the artist a chance to colorize everything and lend some racial diversity to the Who population (Cindy-Lou is light-skinned). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how many mediocre sequels you can squeeze out of Seussian property. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593563168

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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