A simpatico portrayal of holiday travel across time zones.

In this follow-up to Grandpa Grumps (2020), a Chinese family enjoys a traditional celebration.

There are 10 days until the new year when this picture book opens, and the countdown begins as Daisy travels to China to visit her grandfather, accompanied by Auntie. Daisy stays awake throughout the long flight while anticipating all the fun she and Yeh-Yeh (grandpa) will have together. When her bird kite fails to take off like Yeh-Yeh’s, however, and as jet lag sets in, Daisy becomes grumpy: Nothing—not the karaoke or painting or boat ride Yeh-Yeh arranged—feels as enjoyable as she had expected. Daisy’s struggle to process her emotions while hoping they will not affect Yeh-Yeh will resonate with anyone who has managed both their own and others’ disappointment. Eventually, Daisy succumbs to exhaustion and sleeps for well over a day, waking in time to help make zong zi (sticky rice treats wrapped in bamboo leaves). Only two days are left until the new year when Daisy’s spirits finally lift during an outing to the market, where she and Yeh-Yeh share a hearty laugh. Vivid spreads alternate between vignettes and close-ups of facial expressions registering surprise, frustration, and fatigue, while atmospheric full bleeds convey a child’s sense of wonder, festive fireworks, an extended-family gathering, and a bustling street parade. Cantonese and Mandarin phrases are featured; the backmatter includes two recipes. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A simpatico portrayal of holiday travel across time zones. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1282-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022


Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

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