The message that real friends value their pals most for being themselves couldn’t be delivered by a cuter button.

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The most charming button in picture books returns for a “Gift of the Magi”–style Christmas tale in this sequel.

Norman the Button is happy with his new life as a nose for Freddy Teddy. The two are inseparable—that is, until bedtime. The stuffed bear’s awful snoring keeps Norman up at night, so he sleeps on his own in a dollhouse. One night, Norman overhears Freddy telling the rest of the toys that he has the perfect Christmas present for his close friend. Norman frantically tries to come up with a terrific gift for Freddy, but a car proves too expensive, a cellphone on sale turns out to be worthless, and the cake the button attempts to bake—complete with raw bacon and unbroken egg—is a disaster. Norman feels that the homemade present he finally concocts isn’t good enough for his pal. Luckily, Freddy truly appreciates Norman’s talents and loves his gift. Olson’s (Norman, 2018) signature puns (jokes the two friends read together put Norman “in stitches”; the snacks they share make Freddy “stuffed”) are fewer than in the first volume. But Norman’s misadventures help him learn to value his own talents and deftly reinforce the themes of the original story. The author’s posed photographs with digitally illustrated details are gloriously silly and sure to give adults giggles alongside their children.

The message that real friends value their pals most for being themselves couldn’t be delivered by a cuter button.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73237-073-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Bellie Button Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.


A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.


This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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