A holiday toast to thinking outside the (gift) box.

SANTA POST

A last-minute letter sends Santa scrambling to find just the right gift.

Actually, Amy’s letter drops down Santa’s chimney five days before Christmas. But before he can rescue it from the fire, a hole burns right through the spot where she specifies what she wants. Maybe the busy elves can figure it out? Or Mr. Polar Bear? Or maybe the reindeer? No, a box of coal (it’s all that’s left on the shelves), a huge scarf, and a fat carrot just don’t seem quite right for a girl on the “nice” list. Still, when time runs out, Santa gathers up what he has—and by the time he arrives in Amy’s snowy yard he has an idea. Christmas dinner at the North Pole is capped by her thank-you note for all the snow (just what she had asked for!) and the wonderful snowman. The contents of Amy’s letters (one looking singed, the other food stained) and the three gift packages are concealed beneath big, reasonably sturdy flaps. Amy and Santa are White in the cartoon illustrations. The tiny elves are diverse in skin color.

A holiday toast to thinking outside the (gift) box. (Picture book/novelty. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61064-196-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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