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From the Ty's Travels series

A cozy, snowy Christmastime read.

Ty and Momma explore a Christmassy winter wonderland.

This installment of the Ty’s Travels early-reader series focuses on the magic of the holiday season. Ty notices that his North Pole snow globe resembles the freshly fallen snow in his own neighborhood. He and Momma head out with pup Brownie past a snowpal, a group of singing polar bears, and dancing dolls and toy soldiers, all straight out of Ty’s imagination. After sledding, Ty’s big wish to meet Santa comes true. Lyons tells a simple story that leans on Mata’s illustrations to bring it to life. Ty’s expressive face conveys his initial disappointment at not seeing Santa and his eventual surprise and joy. Mata’s crayonlike images, which look as though they were created by Ty himself, depict Ty’s imaginings, while the illustrations of real life are more saturated, conveying movement and texture. There are big sprays of snow as the children sled gleefully as well as patterned scarves and the springy curls of Ty’s hair. Though the storyline is a basic “day in the life,” the illustrations will delight readers. Ty and his family are Black, Santa is brown-skinned, and the elves and children at Santa’s workshop are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy, snowy Christmastime read. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308362-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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An Otto-rly successful modern Christmas story.

A glitzy ornament searches for a tree worthy of him but finds his real place where he least expects it.

“Merry Christmas, bulbs and baubles! I’m Otto! I’m here to bedeck the heck out of your tree!” And “bedeck the heck” he tries! When Otto is told there’s space for him in the middle of the tree, he scoffs—only the top will do for an ornament like him. After he mocks his fellow ornaments, they refuse to make room for him, so he heads out to look for a new place to shine. He takes a scarring tumble down into the sewer, where he encounters an unlikely precious item. Returning with his find, Otto no longer sparkles but still manages to shine at home on the tree. This is a well-paced, appealing tale that will make for a great preschool read-aloud come December. Arrogant Otto has a satisfying redemptive arc that will resonate with readers. The dialogue and wordplay are pitch-perfect, bringing the characters to life. A mix of cartoonish vignettes and full-page spreads effectively depicts action and movement. Otto is multicolored and patterned with big eyes and a winning grin; the other ornaments on the tree also have personalities that match their styles. The few humans who appear are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An Otto-rly successful modern Christmas story. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593481202

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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