A large teddy bear is the narrating character in this big, bright, and busy rendition of the bouncy Christmas song. The endpapers illustrate what happens before and after the song text, showing Santa’s crowded workshop at the front and the culminating Christmas morning scene in the home of a family with a son and daughter at the end. The story unfolds through the song’s words with the setting moving between several locations, alternating between magical scenes at the North Pole and scenes with the two children and their friends, with the connecting device of the teddy bear. Some spreads include several panels with different settings; others show one panoramic view filled with details; and one spread opens to a double fold-out showing Santa with his sleigh and reindeer. Kellogg’s Santa is indeed a jolly fellow, and the detailed spreads offer much for children to examine when not singing along with the catchy song. The end effect is buoyantly boisterous, though the frenetic energy of the crowded illustrations may leave adults feeling as though they’ve eaten too much Christmas candy. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-688-14938-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2004

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This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality.


A testament to the power of an imaginative mind.

A compulsively creative, unnamed, brown-skinned little girl with purple hair wonders what she would do if the pencil she uses “to create…stories that come from my heart” disappeared. Turns out, it wouldn’t matter. Art can take many forms. She can fold paper (origami), carve wood, tear wallpaper to create texture designs, and draw in the dirt. She can even craft art with light and darkness or singing and dancing. At the story’s climax, her unencumbered imagination explodes beyond the page into a foldout spread, enabling readers both literally and figuratively to see into her fantasy life. While readers will find much to love in the exuberant rhyming verse, attending closely to the illustrations brings its own rewards given the fascinating combinations of mixed media Curato employs. For instance, an impressively colorful dragon is made up of different leaves that have been photographed in every color phase from green to deep red, including the dragon’s breath (made from the brilliant orange leaves of a Japanese maple) and its nose and scales (created by the fan-shaped, butter-colored leaves of a gingko). Sugar cubes, flower petals, sand, paper bags, marbles, sequins, and lots more add to and compose these brilliant, fantasy-sparking illustrations.

This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39096-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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The characters in Wood's sunny, simple pen and watercolor illustrations fairly bounce off the page in this exuberant cumulative rhyme. Bloomers-topmost, Silly Sally goes to town ``walking backwards, upside down''; along the way, she meets a silly pig, a silly dog, a silly loon, and a silly sheep—until, finally, Neddy Buttercup (``walking forwards, right side up'') comes along and manages to get the whole crew into town in a frenzy of tickles, grins, and flying limbs. A surefire read-aloud. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-15-274428-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

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