As picturesque, nostalgic, and quaint as the happiest of holiday memories.

READ REVIEW

WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

In this visual interpretation of a classic holiday song as sung by Peggy Lee, Hopgood strings together a beautiful, wintry chain of family pleasures.

Pure joy greets readers right from the start: the first double-page spread opens on a lovely snowy landscape with a fox, some deer, and a sleigh as musical notes accompany that familiar opening line, “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?” Readers then meet a family of five with dark hair, rosy cheeks, and peach-colored skin. The loose narrative centers on this merry band as they frolic in the woods. Classic images of a winter paradise soon follow: building a snowman, watching snow fall, sledding down a hill, snuggling up near a fire, and much more. (The line “We’ll frolic and play the Eskimo way,” which seems to describe a snowball fight, will give some readers pause.) Hopgood’s crayon-and-pastel illustrations capture the sheer wonder of winter. Dark and soft blues dominate, serving as complementary backdrops for each spark of red, burst of orange, and smear of green. One particular double-page spread showing the family in front of a white tree with notes hung on its branches just gushes with wholesomeness. Better yet, each turn of the page matches each turn of the lyric impeccably. Both text and pictures cohere into utter cheerfulness, sure to get anybody singing along.

As picturesque, nostalgic, and quaint as the happiest of holiday memories. (lyrics, author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-304-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed...

TURKEY'S EGGCELLENT EASTER

From the Turkey Trouble series

The fourth entry in the Turkey Trouble series finds Turkey and his animal friends attending a children’s Easter egg hunt at a park next to Turkey’s farm.

Turkey and his pals want to win an “eggstraspecial” prize at the egg hunt, but the event is only for children—not animals. So the group of animal friends decides to attend the egg hunt in disguise and treat their adventure as a “secret mission.” Their disguises include dark glasses and costumes suggesting a rabbit, a bee, and a bunch of daffodils, but each attempt to participate in the egg hunt is rebuffed by the human attendees. The animals work together to create a large, egg-shaped costume for Turkey from a wicker basket, and Turkey and the boy who finds him in egg mode both win special prizes. Turkey shares his prize of a huge, jelly-bean–topped pizza with all his animal buddies. The mildly humorous story has funny animal characters, inventive action, and lots of puns incorporating “egg” into other words. Cartoon-style watercolor-and-pencil illustrations add to the humor with amusing animal expressions and the ongoing series theme of silly costumes. Several of the children at the egg hunt are children of color; the other human characters present white.

Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed series. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4037-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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