A simple, contemporary introduction to the holiday focused on the children’s point of view.

EIGHT NIGHTS, EIGHT LIGHTS

Families in a vibrant community celebrate Hanukkah.

People bustle around in the wintry weather, preparing for the holiday. On the first holiday night, Max, his mother, and his grandparents light the first candle. Throughout the book, varied festivities take place in different homes. After lighting the menorah, families give gifts, prepare foods such as jelly doughnuts, latkes, and Hanukkah cookies topped with Jewish stars, and play dreidel. Aunts, uncles, and cousins come to visit; a young couple (David is dark-skinned; Jillian is light-skinned) celebrate their first Hanukkah in a new apartment. On the eighth night, families gather in the synagogue for a big party and the rabbi begins to tell the story of the holiday’s origins. At home, Max and his mom have lit all eight candles of their menorah, and as they look out their window, “fireworks burst overhead.” This relatively new Hanukkah tradition ends the festival and this straightforward tale perfectly. Although some streets are pictured with old-fashioned cobblestones, the colorful scenes also depict modern-looking houses and buildings. (Could that be the London Eye on the last spread in this English import?) Max and his family are light-skinned, as are most characters in their community, though several people of color also appear. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A simple, contemporary introduction to the holiday focused on the children’s point of view. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68464-441-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience.

HOW TO CATCH A REINDEER

The How to Catch A… crew try for Comet.

Having already failed to nab a Halloween witch, the Easter Bunny, a turkey, a leprechaun, the Tooth Fairy, and over a dozen other iconic trophies in previous episodes of this bestselling series, one would think the racially diverse gaggle of children in Elkerton’s moonlit, wintry scenes would be flagging…but no, here they lay out snares ranging from a loop of garland to an igloo baited with reindeer moss to an enticing candy cane maze, all in hopes of snagging one of Santa’s reindeer while he’s busy delivering presents. Infused with pop culture–based Christmas cheer (“Now I’ve already seen the shelf with the elf”), Comet prances past the traps until it’s time to gather up the kids, most of whom look terrified, for a group snapshot with the other reindeer and then climb back into harness: “This was a great stop but a few million to go / Christmas Eve must continue with style!” Though festive, the verse feels trite and unlikely to entice youngsters. A sprinkling of “True Facts About Reindeer” (“They live in the tundra, where they have friends like the arctic bunny”) wrap up this celebration of the predatory spirit. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 9781728276137

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2022

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