TRICK-OR-TREAT ON MILTON STREET

Charley can’t believe his bad luck: not only does he have to go trick-or-treating in his new and boring neighborhood, but because his mom is sick, he has to go with Dave, his new stepfather who is always doing goofy things to embarrass him. After visiting houses populated with vampires, cowgirls, and witches, Charley and Dave return home to find that Charley’s mother is not sick at all and that everyone they met along the way has turned up at his house for a surprise party. He’s learned that things are not always as they seem and that maybe Dave isn’t so bad after all. Behind the Halloween tale is an important lesson about giving new things and new people a chance, even if they seem hopeless at first. The colorful illustrations of the neighbors, especially the rather large man in the pink tutu, will make children laugh, but readers looking for a typical Halloween story will end up wondering who took the fun out of Halloween. Though it seems to have its heart in the right place, somehow the moral comes out forced. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-57505-158-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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MERRY CHRISTMAS, GERALDINE

A shaggy-dog tale about the journey of the biggest Christmas tree on the lot to Geraldine's home. Brother Willie helps, but the evergreen still needs to be trimmed down considerably during their arduous trip, as friendly shopkeepers shorten the trunk and prune out the top to make the tree more portable. It's still too large for the living room; the top is bent over by the ceiling—a silly touch, but at least Geraldine can place the star on it without help. In guileless illustrations and text, Keller (Geraldine First, 1996, etc.) accurately targets toddlers' tastes, but among holiday tales, this one is more heart than plot, and may be overshadowed by flashier Santas, Grinches, and reindeers with red noses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-14500-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1997

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JESUS IS RISEN!

AN EASTER POP-UP BOOK

Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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