Next book

THE LITTLE BELL THAT WOULDN'T RING

A CHRISTMAS STORY

Nice words, indeed.

A Swiss import with a Christmastime message for the whole world.

A church with a bell tower stands in a cozy town square, and in that tower are four bells that “were very, very old. Except for the smallest one, which was new.” The old bells ring out their songs, but as anticipated by the title, the little bell won’t ring. A dove named Felidia wants to encourage the bell to ring, and a wise old crow tells her that “nice words always help.” But which nice words will move the little bell to ring? Felidia and other birds chirp, “Morning sun” and “Cake crumbs!” and even try “Christmas pudding, fairy tale, chocolate, snowflake,” but none of these nice words provoke chiming. Birds fly around the world learning to say “Merry Christmas” in different European languages, but this doesn’t work; nor do the names of various cheeses listed by a group of mice, nor the words “I love you,” learned from a young couple who appear White (as do all other depicted people). On Christmas Eve, stillness descends, and text describes “a tiny light…crossing the sky.” Unfortunately, the art doesn’t clearly show this “light from Bethlehem [that] goes all around the world with a message of peace.” (Also unfortunate is the low-contrast placement of black text on evening-blue sky.) Nevertheless, this message of peace finally inspires the bell to ring, delivering a satisfying conclusion to the tale.

Nice words, indeed. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4386-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Next book

PUMPKIN DAY!

A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families.

Pumpkins star in this family-centered early reader.

Sketched in rhyming, easy-to-read couplets, this familiar autumn setting is made even warmer by the sweet  family that is making a trip to the pumpkin farm. “Sunny day. Pack a lunch. / In the treetops squirrels munch.” So begins the story of a black mother and father and their young son and daughter. They find their special pumpkins and return home for carving, just in time for trick-or-treating. Mother and father are shown walking hand in hand or gently guiding their youngsters, who are very excited to pick out the perfect gourd. Read aloud, the predictable rhyme scans well, making this a book for emerging readers to read over and over, gaining confidence each time. The full-color illustrations, full of oranges and yellows, match the words, providing important visual cues. Little ones will laugh when the younger brother initially finds a huge pumpkin and rolls it over the hill like a bowling ball. “Thump! Thump! Thump! Then… / Uh-oh!” Eventually, he finds one just the right size for carving. Children of color are remarkably absent in the easy-reader stacks, so it’s an especially welcome treat to see them in this rural setting. Preschool and kindergarten teachers will want to add this to their collections.

A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51341-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Next book

VALENTINE'S DAY, HERE I COME!

From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

Close Quickview