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by Kathy Caple, illustrated by Kathy Caple

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2239-5
Publisher: Holiday House

Duck and Rat celebrate Christmas at their bookstore with an assortment of animal friends in this early reader that will also win over younger children as a read-aloud.

In seven short chapters, Duck and Rat decorate the store with cut-paper snowflakes, open a gift-wrapping station and watch as their gingerbread house is nibbled down to nothing. As a major snowstorm moves in on Christmas Eve, all the animal friends take shelter at the bookstore, spending Christmas Eve together with a potluck dinner and a slumber party that finds the animals spread out on the floor, tables and shelves. In the morning, there are Christmas stockings for all and a frosty coating on the display window, with a new gingerbread house and a message from Santa. The droll humor and quietly amusing holiday preparations have the flavor of the Frog and Toad stories, with the same comforting sense of a kind and reassuring world. Understated illustrations in gouache and ink are filled with tiny, humorous details and clever costumes for the animal characters, such as tiny jackets and pointed caps for a flock of particularly captivating chicks.

As sweet and clever as a gingerbread house (with a frosting of humor) and as satisfying as a cup of hot chocolate. (Picture book /early reader. 4-8)