A pretty, if also pretty bland, commemoration.

READ REVIEW

LET IT GLOW

A WINTER'S WALK

A young boy’s way is lit by LED streetlights and stars as he walks home through snowy scenes on Christmas Eve.

The five white lights, which don’t “twinkle” as advertised but are very bright, are revealed one at a time through small die-cut holes as the lad carries a wrapped gift past pastel shops (this is a fairly commercialized version of the holiday) and houses, a fair, carolers, a pond where “skaters form a whirling swirl / of pink-cheeked boys and giggling girls,” and so home to hang one more shining star on his tree. The text accompanying this action implies that he takes the star out of the box he’s been carrying, but the box remains wrapped in the illustration, and his stiff-armed pose will have many readers wondering exactly what he’s doing. The boy and most of the figures in Gildersleeve’s neatly composed cut-paper collages are white, but the carolers include three with diverse shades of brown skin, and among the skaters is a biracial couple holding a child’s hands. A tiny switch turns the lights on and off, and the batteries are replaceable. Aside from the tree, silhouetted steeples in the background are the only hint that the holiday has a religious significance too.

A pretty, if also pretty bland, commemoration. (Novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-030-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution.

NIGHT LIGHTS

A SUKKOT STORY

On the first night of Sukkot, Daniel is apprehensive about sleeping in the dark sukkah without a night light.

Older sister Naomi likes to show off her knowledge acquired in Hebrew school, so she tells Daniel all about the holiday. She explains how Jews remember the ancestors’ journey from Egypt, why the sukkah is built, and the reason for an open roof made of tree branches. Once the building and decorating of their sukkah is finished, Daniel’s quiet anxiety parallels Naomi’s eager excitement through the family’s outdoor dinner. At bedtime, the siblings create a makeshift sleeping area in a corner of the sukkah. In the dark, scary nighttime noises and shadowy images disturb Daniel to the point where he begins to go inside. But to his surprise, Naomi, who has a touch of the heebie-jeebies herself, encourages him to stay and look up through the branches of the sukkah’s open roof. He sees a sky full of stars, or “night lights,” as they glowed for the ancestors thousands of years ago. Soft paintings provide a contemporary view of a White Jewish family with some parallel historical scenes of the forbearers making their way through the desert. The interwoven explanation of the holiday within the context of the story is enhanced with an afterword that references today’s refugees, who must live under precarious circumstances in temporary shelters.

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68115-547-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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