A lively tale whose highly skilled, pint-sized heroes provide endless fun.

THE TANNENBAUM TAILORS AND THE BRETHREN OF THE SAINTS

From the The Tannenbaum Tailors series , Vol. 2

In Michaels’ (The Order of St. Michael, 2016, etc.) middle-grade adventure sequel, Christmas elves fight against an evil group’s diabolical plan, which involves kidnapping Santa Claus.

In the last book of the series, the Tannenbaum Tailors, a group of elves who tend and “tailor,” or decorate, trees, successfully saved Christmas in 1987 by stopping the Spiritless elves from stealing the Snowball—Santa’s device for delivering gifts. In this book, they must still contend with the Spiritless, who slip tree-destroying swarmer termites into a toy and also try to abduct the Tailors and their captain, Brendan Holly. With help from a fairy named Jane, the Tailors once again thwart the Spiritless, but as the next Christmas draws near, they become wary. A Spiritless elf that the Tailors call “Number One” has been missing for a year, and it also appears that the Spiritless have their own version of a GlimmerBeam, a device that sends presents directly to Santa’s bag. At the same time, Brendan faces a court martial for violating an oath; he revealed himself and the history of the North Pole to a young human, Jack, because he needed the boy’s help. Jane and fellow fairy Coco’s reconnaissance mission to the Spiritless’ South Pole headquarters takes an unexpected turn when they find out that Santa is being held captive there. To make matters worse, there may be a traitor among the good elves. Michaels’ second book to feature the Tailors is a quick, delightful read, with short chapters that effectively bounce the story from scene to scene. The Christian symbolism is perhaps too conspicuous; for example, the Spiritless are elves who rebelled against Santa and then went to the South Pole. But a sense of humor is still prevalent throughout; one highlight is when Tailor Steve and a Spiritless elf vie for Jack’s attention—one at each of his ears, much as if an angel and a devil were on his shoulders. The action is intense throughout, including physical altercations and explosions, but young readers will have no sympathy for the defeated Spiritless. The book even includes a possible origin for Santa, although the background on the dark elves’ potential leader is more striking.

A lively tale whose highly skilled, pint-sized heroes provide endless fun.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-77913-2

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Harrison and James

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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