From the Bad Kitty series

Nice enough.

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 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019


As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021


From the How To Catch… series

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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