BAD KITTY SEARCHING FOR SANTA

From the Bad Kitty series

Bad Kitty is back—with a letter to Santa.

Even though she “is not so sure she’s been good this year,” Kitty writes to Santa to ask for “a nice present.” Next she must “GIVE the letter to Santa,” and a picture shows her gripping a newspaper with the headline “MEET SANTA TODAY!” and a photo of Kris Kringle. While en route to the store to see him (her letter cleverly stuck into the folded brim of her knitted hat), Kitty encounters someone she thinks is Santa but who turns out to be someone dressed in a Santa suit and ringing a bell for charity. Other similar encounters show a diverse range of people (men, women, and a child with different skin tones and hair textures) wearing Santa suits and holding signs reading “GIVE.” There’s even a dog and an octopus getting in on the action in the digital, cartoon-style pictures. Kitty is overwhelmed by all the Santas, none of whom looks like the white-bearded white man in the newspaper. And alas, when she reaches the store, it’s closed! Angry, she balls up her letter and stomps on it before heading home. But, in a gift of an ending, Bad Kitty ends up with a very nice present under her tree: a fish in a brown-paper package all tied up with string.

Nice enough. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19843-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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All we want for Christmas is a more coherent story.

THE CHRISTMAS PRINCESS

THE ADVENTURES OF LITTLE MARIAH

Singer Carey, whose “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is in near-constant rotation each holiday season, makes the leap to Christmas picture book with co-author Davis.

Little Mariah lives in a worn, shabby house in a wealthy neighborhood; though poor, she has a kind nature and musical talent—both of which ultimately save her. Taunted by a nasty brother-sister duo who enter her home uninvited, Little Mariah is distracted by snowfall and runs out into the nearby woods. The snow transforms into Snowflake Butterfly Fairies. Following these entrancing visions, she encounters a gang of bullies but, having tripped over a heart-shaped stone, she uses its magical properties for good in a convoluted series of events. The Butterfly Fairy Queen arrives and crowns Little Mariah the Christmas Princess for her “perfectly pure songs from the heart.” Back at Little Mariah’s house, which has been miraculously transformed, Little Mariah performs Carey’s uber-hit Christmas song. Overwritten, overwrought, overlong, and narrated in clunky verse, this holiday story, seemingly inspired by Carey’s early childhood and with “Little Match Girl” and “Cinderella” vibes, rambles while making its trite, albeit well-meaning, point. It will attract attention because of the star power of its co-author; note her empowering foreword. The colorful illustrations are cheery. Wide-eyed, blond-curled Mariah and the Fairy Queen have light-tan skin; Mariah’s mom and several other characters, including the bullying brother and sister, are pale-skinned; the fairies are diverse in skin tone. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

All we want for Christmas is a more coherent story. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-83711-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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