As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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LLAMA LLAMA TRICK OR TREAT

From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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