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A sweet ode to and pleasant reminder of the Christmas spirit.

London’s Christmas tree tells its own story.

Narrating in first “person,” a lovely pine describes, in gentle, lilting rhyme, its journey from seedling to tree. Like other trees before and others that will come after, the pine sprouts from a seedling in Norway, grows to a majestic height, then is cut and transported the long distance to the U.K. When set in place, it proudly stands, resplendently decorated, in London’s Trafalgar Square, where it’s watched over by the statue of Adm. Nelson, atop his towering column, and the majestic lion statues surrounding its base. Cheery throngs come and go in the square, fireworks light up the night, and children frolic and sing around the tree, an annual gift from Oslo’s mayor to the U.K. since 1947, in thanks for Britain’s aid to Norway during World War II. This is a charming homage to the holiday season, expressed from an unusual point of view. Children should appreciate gaining some insight into where some large, civically displayed trees may have come from and how they came to be placed on public view. The delicate illustrations effectively contrast the bright greenery, deep blues, and striking winter whites of the Norwegian forest with the lighter colors of London’s day and night skies. Some of Trafalgar Square’s iconic buildings are also on view, as is a vivid red double-decker bus. Adult and child characters are racially diverse; one child is depicted using a wheelchair. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet ode to and pleasant reminder of the Christmas spirit. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82927-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families.

Pumpkins star in this family-centered early reader.

Sketched in rhyming, easy-to-read couplets, this familiar autumn setting is made even warmer by the sweet  family that is making a trip to the pumpkin farm. “Sunny day. Pack a lunch. / In the treetops squirrels munch.” So begins the story of a black mother and father and their young son and daughter. They find their special pumpkins and return home for carving, just in time for trick-or-treating. Mother and father are shown walking hand in hand or gently guiding their youngsters, who are very excited to pick out the perfect gourd. Read aloud, the predictable rhyme scans well, making this a book for emerging readers to read over and over, gaining confidence each time. The full-color illustrations, full of oranges and yellows, match the words, providing important visual cues. Little ones will laugh when the younger brother initially finds a huge pumpkin and rolls it over the hill like a bowling ball. “Thump! Thump! Thump! Then… / Uh-oh!” Eventually, he finds one just the right size for carving. Children of color are remarkably absent in the easy-reader stacks, so it’s an especially welcome treat to see them in this rural setting. Preschool and kindergarten teachers will want to add this to their collections.

A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51341-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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