A fresh take on well-worn traditions.



What are these helpful mice decorating? That’s the question this board book poses readers.

Each illustration is accompanied by three or four words of text (“First the lights! / Then, the garland!”) with further hints in the snowy scenes. Long focuses on decorations that even young children may notice early on in the seasonal frenzy. Two of the mouse elfs might be male; they have green-and-white stocking caps perched between their ears with matching green-striped tops slightly flared at the bottom. The third mouse elf sports a red-and-white hat and scarf with a green top and longer red skirt and seems to be female. They all have red socks and curly elf feet. Regardless, they throw themselves equally into their tasks, opening boxes labeled “decorations,” hanging lights and garland, juggling ornaments. Not until Page 13 do readers start to wonder what exactly they are decorating. Why do they need snacks and sunglasses or a map, air freshener, and fuzzy dice? The mystery is solved on the next-to-last spread when a Santa polar bear appears in a festively decorated sleigh. Adult readers will appreciate the visual humor: The star perched on a coil is made of cheese; the slogan on the mug proclaims “COCOA is the new COFFEE.” Older toddlers will enjoy the clever mouse antics and surprise ending.

A fresh take on well-worn traditions. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2305-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...


From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.


An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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