An unsuccessful adaptation.



Carey’s zillion-selling Christmas song is paired with pictures that put a slightly different spin on the original’s romantic yearning.

A picture of mini-Mariah hugging a white-and-brown terrier puppy on the cover establishes the tone. As the story opens, the little girl walks past a storefront advertising “Puppy Love Adoption” and spends the next several pages incorporating dogs into her Christmas preparations: she draws pictures of dogs and makes dog-shaped cookies, a dog puppet, a snowdog, etc. Around her, her siblings likewise prepare, sometimes in clever counterpoint. Mini-Mariah sits reading a book about dogs while her siblings compose comically extensive lists as the text reads, “I won’t make a list and send it to the North Pole for Saint Nick.” Madden creates a standard-issue snowy American suburb with a pleasingly multiethnic cast of characters. Carey’s own ethnically mixed heritage is hinted at with an African-American grandmother and Caucasian grandfather; the protagonist’s siblings all have light-brown skin and short, curly, dark hair. This creates a jarring dissonance with mini-Mariah, who is depicted with her signature flowing, blonde locks flopping conspicuously over one eye. Readers familiar with the song will wonder how any picture book might jibe with Carey’s vocal rendition, suffused with sexual longing in its first verse, but the mood of the pictures matches the song’s overall pep. The book’s biggest problem is that the direct address to “you” throughout the song is developmentally out of sync with the younger members of its audience, who will be thinking, “Who, me?” instead of the hoped-for dog every time the text iterates “you.”

An unsuccessful adaptation. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-55139-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...


Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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