An enjoyable if not groundbreaking collection of stories that could be read throughout the month, as intended, or as a...

In this Canadian import, Santa and his helpers prepare for Christmas with 24 stories keyed to each day of December leading up to the holiday.

Each double-page spread includes a golden ornament with the day’s date, a full-page illustration, and a one-page story about Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves. The characters at the North Pole are white, with the elf crew including both males and females and one senior elf with gray hair. A pre-Christmas visit from Santa includes children of different ethnicities. Throughout the month, the elves prep the sleigh, make toys, put Santa on an exercise program, and nurse Rudolph through a bout of the flu. Santa is an old-fashioned, outspoken fellow who supervises and gives directions, with lots of jolly expressions like “Jumpin’ jingle bells!” and “Cracklin’ candy canes!” The 24 stories are entertaining, with such humorous touches as the elves adding GPS to the sleigh and inventing an overly enthusiastic Supersonic Gift-Wrapping Chicken. Cartoon-style illustrations use a flattened perspective, neon-bright colors, and comical touches like oversized, red glasses on Mrs. Claus. The cover illustration and the first story include a calendar page for December with European-style numerals 1 and 7 that will need explanation to most U.S. children.

An enjoyable if not groundbreaking collection of stories that could be read throughout the month, as intended, or as a longer story in a single session. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-2-924786-05-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chouette

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017


From the How To Catch… series

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017


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