COMET THE UNSTOPPABLE REINDEER

Not one to stop for despite the appeal of the cartoony art style.

An intrepid member of Santa’s team saves Christmas.

When weary elves get into a fight just before Christmas Eve, Comet the reindeer steps in to break up the fisticuffs and is injured. The rhyming text describes how the doctor tells him he needs to rest and can’t help pull Santa’s sleigh that night, and then it reads, “Comet watched Santa get ready. / (His spot had been filled by / a rookie named Freddy.)” The singsong cadence and goofy phrasing of these lines is representative of the text as a whole, which goes on to reveal that Santa forgets to bring his bag filled with toys on the journey. No one notices this oversight since Freddy keeps them all entertained with silly songs. Injured Comet decides he must deliver the toys himself, and a comical sequence shows him struggling to lift an enormous bag onto his shoulders before giving up. Then he reads a tear-jerker of a letter to Santa from a selfless child, which inspires him to persist. He flies around the world in search of this child’s home, delivering toys until he finally finds the house he’s searching for in Oahu. At this point Santa calls “full of thanks-yous and praise, / so quick-thinking Comet / mentioned getting a raise,” an attempt at wit that both undercuts the message of selflessness and aims over the heads of most child readers. Santa presents White, and his elf employees are diverse.

Not one to stop for despite the appeal of the cartoony art style. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4347-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How To Catch… series

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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