A CHRISTMAS MANGER

Another Uncle Gu play book. Remember the farm and circus books in the series? Unusual feature in that no scissors are required for the cut-outs — they are perforated and push out of the sheets. The back of the book makes the stage set. This should be a particularly good Christmas item, and one copy of the book might well be taken over by shop or library and used as display material for a Christmas window, for here is a Christmas creche, with the inside cover the manger and stable, and the animals and figures of the New Testament story on the cut-out pages.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1942

ISBN: 0547238940

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1942

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DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS

From the Celebrate the World series

The traditions and history of one of Mexico’s most important holidays are introduced in this latest of Eliot’s Celebrate the World series.

From setting up the flower-festooned altars to decorating the calaveras, the preparations depicted involve entire communities over several weeks. Characters in cowboy hats, sombreros, and baseball caps place the final touches on skeletons in full lucha libre regalia or spangled mariachi outfits. However, instead of accurately using Mexico’s name for the holiday, Día de Muertos, Eliot uses the English back-translation, “Día de los Muertos,” as is common in the U.S. even though the story evidently takes place in Mexico. Also, aside from stating that the celebration “is an ancient tradition,” there is no mention of its Indigenous, pre-European/Christian roots nor does the book actively distinguish between Día de Muertos and Halloween. The first-person narration vacillates between child and adult perspectives. “We do all this to celebrate the beauty of life and death rather than mourn it.” Gutierrez’s mixed-media illustrations are convulsive, crowded panes of frenetic activity. Exaggerated facial features border on stereotypical caricatures—snouts and bug eyes abound. Contributing to the crowded page design is the unfortunate choice of board rather than picture-book format. Consequently, the initial perception is that this series is geared toward toddlers, when it is the school-age child who would most benefit from the information in this book.

Pass. (Board book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1515-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A treasure that reaches far beyond the traditional board-book audience.

RAMADAN

From the Celebrate the World series

This festive board book for toddlers, preschoolers, and early-elementary–age children introduces the practices of and meaning behind Ramadan, the Muslims’ month of fasting.

From the timing of the month around the crescent moon to the physical practice of fasting during daylight hours, this sturdy little book is packed with almost everything young children should know about Ramadan. Many nonfiction books about Ramadan explain the practices, but few give both facts and feelings as this book does, which is appropriate for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Eliot evokes the spirit of Ramadan, “a time to reflect on ourselves, to be thankful, and to help others.” The decorative illustrations show families diverse in skin color, hair texture, and attire as they celebrate, work, play, and pray in societies around the world. The vibrant primary colors pop against blue and orange backgrounds, and the floral patterns and the stylized representation of the natural world strengthen this volume. Only the reasons for fasting are a bit watered down for a general audience: “We fast because we know that there are many people who are less fortunate than us. We appreciate how lucky we are.” This is more a benefit of fasting than the religious reason, but it is easily understood. The book ends with the same bittersweet emotions felt at the end of Ramadan: “We will remember to love our family, pray, and give back to others all throughout the year.”

A treasure that reaches far beyond the traditional board-book audience. (Board book. 2-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0635-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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