THE ZIZ AND THE HANUKKAH MIRACLE

The Ziz, a large, somewhat clumsy mythical bird, returns in a Hanukkah story offering an unlikely explanation for how one day’s oil lasted eight. Frustrated by how night’s winter darkness prevents him from accomplishing his evening tasks, the Ziz looks for ways to light his path. Finally, he decides to approach God on Mt. Sinai, who gives him an oil lantern that burns brightly each night. But his newfound treasure begs sharing from his fellow mountain dwellers. Unwilling, the selfish Ziz flies away with his precious lantern, stopping to rest at the Holy Temple, newly reconstructed after the Maccabee victory. He overhears Judah’s worried voice about not having enough oil to light the eternal menorah. The Ziz decides to approach God once more, and He commands the Ziz to help Judah with the oil in his lantern. Colorful paintings in deep tones illustrate this original tale with its goofy-looking overgrown yellow-bodied bird with red-and-purple plumes. Jules incorporates the theme of sharing, as well as apologizing, in a droll version of a holiday tale. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58013-160-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2006

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A BIRTHDAY FOR COW!

Thomas scores again after What Will Fat Cat Sit On? (2007) with another droll crowd-pleaser for the OshKosh B’Gosh set. Scornfully rejecting Duck’s hilariously persistent efforts to add a turnip, Pig and Mouse create a luscious cake—only to find themselves saddled with eating it themselves (not that they mind) when Cow obliviously falls on Duck’s turnip, rapturously declaring this birthday the best one ever. Punctuated by punch-line words (usually “TURNIP”) in red, the huge, pithy text is paired to simply drawn figures that spill past the edges, and often seem ready to pop right up from the page. From the calendar countdown on the front endpapers (Cow’s birthday is October 17th, if you’re curious) to a closing joke on the rear ones about using turnips as toothbrushes, this riotous read-aloud is guaranteed to have them rolling in the aisles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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