A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.

TEENY TINY GHOST

This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sweet and practical holiday advice delivered by two darling dinos.

TINY T. REX AND THE TRICKS OF TREATING

Tiny T. Rex shares the top six tricks of treating for those wanting to become Halloween Treat-masters.

“The very best part of Halloween is the Treats,” the book opens. “It is a mathematically proven fact.” From there, Tiny T. Rex and pal Pointy, who declare themselves masters of treating, share their tricks, which range from what to wear (with a caveat to avoid wearing multiple costumes at once) to being sure to express “thank you” (even frightful creatures have manners, after all) to the “greatest trick” of all—sharing treats. Stutzman’s play on trick-or-treating, coupled with original words like Nom-bies and Crawly-creeps, give this board book a refreshingly original take on familiar Halloween themes. Fleck’s illustrations depict the dinos as endearing and playful. Tiny T. Rex has two pointy, nonintimidating teeth and a diminutive stature, and Pointy’s ever so pointy back plates are incorporated into its costume as a unicorn with a rainbow-colored tail. And who can resist a dinosaur wearing “mitties” over its hands? The brightly colored illustrations are visually appealing, and the details give readers plenty to observe. From showing gratitude for a cucumber “treat” handed out from a basket of veggies to sharing their haul with a homebound friend, these dinosaurs are adorable in more ways than one.

Sweet and practical holiday advice delivered by two darling dinos. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8490-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more