A magical, wholesome Christmas read.

READ REVIEW

THE GREAT PJ ELF CHASE

A CHRISTMAS EVE TRADITION

In this picture book, two boys plan to catch Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve when they deliver new sets of pajamas.

Santa’s elves are on a mission to give all the good children of the world not toys, as one might expect, but new pairs of pajamas. Through the use of a magical crystal ball, Santa’s elves check to make sure children are taking their baths on Christmas Eve, and then they leave a brand new set of pajamas just outside the bathroom door. But brothers Jack and Ben are determined to finally catch an elf. They concoct a daring plan to capture one through traps and a net, luring it with cheese and using their dog as a lookout. However, the boys prove no match for the mischievous elves, who cause quite the mess—squeezing out toothpaste and hair gel and ransacking bedrooms. Ben eventually runs outside in the cold wearing only a towel, which he promptly loses. Luckily, his brother is there to return it. The story is written using a simple rhyming structure, which adds a musical touch: “This Christmas Eve gift / is amazing, that’s true. / But the boys know what’s / coming: Elf hullabaloo!” Colorful illustrations vividly bring the action to life through detailed characters and elaborate backgrounds. The elves, hidden on all the pages (at the end of the book, the authors ask readers to count all the elves they’ve spotted), have playful, impish smiles, and where text appears, touches of red and green and holiday decorations adorn the pages. The downside of the rhyme scheme is its impact on dialogue: No dialogue tags are used, and two speakers are often found in the same stanza, so it can be unclear who’s speaking. While the text is sparse on action—the only exciting scene being Ben chasing the elves outside—the charming illustrations make up for the lack of plot.

A magical, wholesome Christmas read.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482724622

Page Count: 40

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2013

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A friendly celebration of love for the youngest of readers.

YOU'RE MY LITTLE CHICKADEE

A yellow chick is showered with love.

“You’re my little chickadee. / You mean everything in the world to me.” So begins this ode to a caregiver’s love for their little ones, a message emphasized by the “made with love” logo on the cover. The soft, pastel palette and simple, quick pace make this ideal for the smallest readers. The figure of the chick spreads so large across the page that its topknot is actually made of a stuffed, felt orange poof that rests atop the book, held in place by the back cover. Babies still teething will adore nibbling on it. Readers just beginning to learn how to hold books in their tiny hands will find much to enjoy here, but the window for use is a relatively small one. Caregivers with any familiarity with North American birds will be irked at the use of “chickadee” to describe this generic yellow bird, as it looks nothing like an actual chickadee, either juvenile or adult.

A friendly celebration of love for the youngest of readers. (Board book. 6 mos.-1)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-11089-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A killer thriller.

THREE HOURS IN PARIS

Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations.

THIS LITTLE BUNNY

Little bunnies prepare for the definitive bunny holiday.

Bunnies prepare for Easter in this board book. In verse set to the cadence of “This Little Piggy,” bunnies go to market, bake a cake, paint eggs, weave a basket, and do all sorts of other things to get ready for Easter. Rescek’s illustrations take full advantage of spring’s color palette, employing purples, pinks, oranges, and blues and incorporating striped and spotted ovals evoking Easter eggs. Little readers learning about the Easter Bunny for the first time will be delighted to get a peek at the process bunnies may go through to prepare for Easter and how it mirrors activities they perform with their parents.

This brisk read is a solid accompaniment to Easter preparations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0105-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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