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

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Proving even pooped piggies are ready to party, this will make children want to join in.

PIG HAS A PLAN

From the I Like To Read series

A noisy barnyard is no place for a nap!

Poor pig, all he wants to do is take a short snooze. However, there seems to be something going on around him. Each of his farm friends is making noise of one kind or another. “Hen wants to saw.” “Dog wants to tap.” “Hog wants to hum.” Pig looks closer and closer to fainting from exhaustion until he spies some drinking straws and has an idea. He sinks himself in his mud puddle and breathes through a straw snorkel. He’s finally able to catch some Z’s…but all those barnyard noises had a purpose: prep for a piggy birthday celebration. So much for napping! Long’s entry in the I Like to Read series tells its simple tale in 47 words, nearly all of which are of the single-syllable, easy-to-sound-out variety. Bright pastel-and-primary full-bleed illustrations featuring big-eyed farm folk will keep eyes on the page during storytime or guided independent reading. The visual humor and the easy-reading text make this a winner for readers just starting out.

Proving even pooped piggies are ready to party, this will make children want to join in. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2428-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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