This special story will be read or sung over in the library, over in the classroom, and over in the family room, next to the...

LITTLE ELFIE ONE

The classic children’s song “Over in the Meadow” moves to the North Pole in this Christmas-themed interpretation.

The story begins with a “big mommy elf” who lives in a house at the North Pole with her “little elfie one.” Each verse introduces a new set of parent-and-child characters, increasing by one child each time. A father mouse encourages his “little mousies two” to nibble, a mother polar bear tells her “little polies five” to swim, and Father Santa calls for his “little helpers eight” to hurry and his “little reindeer nine” to fly. The story circles back around to the mother elf and her little one as they wave goodbye to Santa on Christmas Eve. The story works well when read as rhyming text, but it also can be sung to the old folk tune of “Over in the Meadow” for a musical Christmas treat. The parental characters are evenly divided between mothers and fathers, and the activities and names for the children are cleverly inventive, such as “gingies” for the little gingerbread children. Soft-focus watercolor illustrations use glowing light and mysterious shadows to create a suspenseful mood with a magical radiance. Manning’s illustrations are simply irresistible, with appealing characters and strong compositions on each spread. Unfortunately, all the humanoid characters appear to be Caucasian.

This special story will be read or sung over in the library, over in the classroom, and over in the family room, next to the Christmas tree. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-220673-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

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. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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