A heartwarming tale of the magic of Christmas, but adults will need to be ready to help children past the rough spots.

ONE CHRISTMAS WISH

A little boy finds a box of old ornaments that come to life on a special Christmas Eve.

Theo’s parents have left him alone with a distracted babysitter. Despondent, Theo makes a wish on a shooting star “to be un-alone.” A rocking horse, a robin, a tin soldier, and an angel wake up to keep him company. Each has its own distinctive personality—the rocking horse eats everything in sight, the little robin has forgotten how to sing, the angel would love to have real feathers for her wings, and the soldier pines for his own true love. They head outside for an evening full of joyful adventures. Rundell’s writing is delightful, but it’s marred by several non sequiturs and discrepancies between text and art. Illustrations throughout clearly show Theo clad in striped pajamas. Yet the text says “Theo thought about his heart, beating hard under his four layers of sweaters.” When Theo and his ornament friends find a princess doll in a toy store, the line “Theo lifted down her box” is followed by “Theo looked up at the doll,” who’s depicted in place on the upper shelf. But great care was given to the book’s beautiful design. Spacious text wraps around illustrations; wide borders are sometimes filled with pictures, and the pages open up to perfectly placed, colorful double-page spreads. Theo, his family, and the humanoid animate toys all present white.

A heartwarming tale of the magic of Christmas, but adults will need to be ready to help children past the rough spots. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9161-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

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. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Kids may choose differently at the pumpkin patch after reading this tale, though any deeper message may be lost on them.

STUMPKIN

A stemless pumpkin who isn’t chosen gets the best Halloween of all.

On the shelves outside a shop in a busy city, a shopkeeper makes a display of orange pumpkins and a single yellow gourd. They are all sizes and shapes and have lovely stems, save for one. Poor Stumpkin worries that, despite his good qualities, his stemlessness will prevent him from becoming a jack-o’-lantern like all the other pumpkins that go home with customers to decorate the windows across the street. On Halloween night, he alone is left (even the gourd went home with someone!). So the shopkeeper scoops him up. The spreads that follow are marvelous, wordless creations that will delight young readers: A black spread is followed by one with an orange-rimmed white triangle on the verso, then one with similar triangles on both pages. “Stumpkin wouldn’t be getting a window. And he wouldn’t be getting a new home. // He already had a home.” The final page shows Stumpkin as a jack-o’-lantern back on the shelves with the shopkeeper’s friendly black cat. Though undoubtedly feel-good, the book may leave readers wondering exactly what it’s saying about Stumpkin’s physical irregularity—is it some kind of disability metaphor? The city sights, people, and animals other than the cat are all black silhouettes, keeping the focus on Stumpkin.

Kids may choose differently at the pumpkin patch after reading this tale, though any deeper message may be lost on them. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1362-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more