Though this doesn’t quite match the allure of Michael Garland’s Christmas Magic (2001) or the pure fun of Caralyn and Mark...

SNOWMAN MAGIC

This tale of a constructed friend charms with its magic and imagination.

A Friday snow day keeps George home from school, trapped inside and bored as the snow continues to fall. But Saturday is a great play-outside day, so George dons his warm winter clothes. The next few pages are an expository-writing teacher’s dream, as the text and realistic-looking illustrations team up to create a guide to building a snowman. A few household items, some sticks and George’s hard work, and the snowman is complete. Through some unknown magic, George’s snowman comes to life and responds when George offers him a snack. The two spend the day chasing each other and flinging snowballs. On Sunday, a warmer day, George’s snowman doesn’t have as much energy. Monday, a school day, is even hotter. When George gets off the school bus, he finds a small heap of snow decorated with some buttons, a scarf and a carrot (in the illustration, it looks like a jumbled pile of white fleece fabric). But Tuesday brings more snow, and George cannot wait…“to build his snowman again.” Readers will have no doubt that George’s lively snowman will return.

Though this doesn’t quite match the allure of Michael Garland’s Christmas Magic (2001) or the pure fun of Caralyn and Mark Buehner’s Snowmen at Night (2002), it is a nice cross between the two that will have kids rolling snowman pieces with dedicated purpose. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-201445-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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