Best suited for those who scan the winter skies.

THE LITTLE SNOWPLOW WISHES FOR SNOW

Mother Nature doesn’t always play fair when it comes to hopes and dreams.

After having proven his worth in The Little Snowplow (2015), the titular hero returns to face a hitherto unforeseen challenge. While he’s perfectly happy to aid the Mighty Mountain Road Crew during the warm months, this snowplow yearns endlessly for the return of frozen precipitation. As the months grow colder and the temperature plummets, he gazes at weather reports, drives to the tops of mountains, and celebrates the winter solstice, desperate for big wet flakes. But by the time his March birthday approaches, it looks like a thick snowfall may never happen. Then, on the day in question, the miraculous occurs. But can it be possible to have too much of a good thing? Luckily, the snowplow has his friends to help him out. Any child who has ever gazed longingly at a steely winter sky will identify with this snowplow’s ceaseless expectations. Parker’s illustrations give the snowplow an expressive grille, capable of conveying hope as well as crushing disappointment. The jollity is palpable, although the book may serve as a depressingly timely tale in this era of global warming.

Best suited for those who scan the winter skies. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0117-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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