A strong holiday story about courage, caring, and finding one’s voice.

CAROL'S QUEST FOR COURAGE

Sky and Koehler (No Heartbreaker, 2019, etc.) return to Santa Claus’ dog park with another Christmas tale of love and courage starring a cute canine.

Carol, one of 100 dogs who lives at the North Pole’s dog park, loves to sing, but she’s afraid to do so in public. She sets off on a journey by train to find her courage, but the pup has no luck locating it. Then she sees a young girl performing at a Christmas Eve variety show who panics onstage. Carol races to the rescue, howling alongside the youngster to the tune of “Silent Night.” Carol then realizes she didn’t have to travel to find her courage—it was inside herself all along. As in the previous installment, Carol is given the option to return home with Santa or live with her new friend, where she fits in. The fact that Carol’s kindness brings her courage into existence offers a strong message for young readers, and Sky smoothly tells this story in cheerful rhyme. Koehler’s bright, cartoonish illustrations depict a diverse human crowd, and the girl’s family appears to be of mixed heritage. Carol’s eyelashes are perhaps a bit overstated, but the Christmas-y details in the illustrations’ margins add to the holiday appeal.

A strong holiday story about courage, caring, and finding one’s voice.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9998430-6-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dogs & Books

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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