Like so many books commemorating the season, sweet but unremarkable.

ALL THE COLORS OF CHRISTMAS

Rhyming verse describes various Christmas symbols and events, grouped by color, as four children celebrate the season.

The dominant color in Gamble’s palette shifts accordingly from red through green, gold, blue, and white to brown before concluding pages shift from hues to “you.” The children, two White kids who may be preschoolers or early-elementary children, one Asian child about the same age, and another Asian child who is a young toddler, decorate the tree, go to a Christmas fair, go ice-skating, and participate in a Nativity play, among other activities. The children’s caregivers are largely absent, leaving readers to parse the children’s relationships as they will: They could be siblings, two sets of cousins, or good friends. Other children of varied racial presentation appear in the background. Turner’s verse makes some odd twists and turns, with forced rhymes and/or scansion in more than one or two spots. “Christmas is GOLD. / It’s bright ribbon unrolled. / It’s jingling bells / and warm, yummy smells. / It’s heirlooms YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HOLD. / It’s dancers all tapping among holiday trappings. / It’s nutcracker crowns / and Christmas Eve gowns. / It’s glittery gift wrapping.” Like the verse, the illustrations are also sometimes awkward, the children sometimes seeming as if they are pasted onto a space rather than painted into it. A little mouse in a snowsuit appears in many spreads. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 92.3% of actual size.)

Like so many books commemorating the season, sweet but unremarkable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65414-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Convergent/Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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