NAUGHTY CLAUDINE'S CHRISTMAS

Entertaining and amusing, if not particularly groundbreaking.

A little girl named Claudine tries to misbehave just before Christmas so that Santa won’t come into her house to deliver presents on Christmas Eve.

Claudine doesn’t like the idea of Santa watching her and determining if she is naughty or nice. She also doesn’t “want Santa to break into her home.” So she decides to act up in the days before Christmas so that Santa will skip her house, although her older sister claims he will still come since she is well-behaved. Claudine’s minor mischief includes squirting toothpaste all over the bathroom, tracking pink paint footprints on the floor, and blowing her nose on her mother’s skirt. On Christmas morning there are no presents under the tree for either sister, but Claudine finds all the family’s presents on the front porch with a note from Santa. Claudine, her family, and Santa are white; some of the children waiting in line to see Santa are other ethnicities. The plot isn’t especially original, and it isn’t believable that a child of Claudine’s age (around 6) would want to forego Christmas presents rather than have Santa deliver them. Appealing illustrations have a retro, 1960s vibe with skirts on the female characters and a record player in Claudine’s room. The composition of the illustrations and the overall design are attractive and polished.

Entertaining and amusing, if not particularly groundbreaking. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93734-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE SLEIGH!

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

DR. SEUSS'S HOW THE GRINCH LOST CHRISTMAS!

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how many mediocre sequels you can squeeze out of Seussian property.

Since a reformed Grinch is hardly any fun, this follow-up Grinches him up once more.

Those seeking more of the same, prepare to receive precisely that. Christmas is coming (again!), and the Grinch can hardly wait. He’s been patient all year, and now he can finally show the Whos down in Who-ville how much he’s changed. When the Grinch learns of a tree-decorating contest, he figures that if he wins, it’ll prove he truly has the Christmas spirit. He throws himself into the task, but when it comes time to judge the trees, the Grinch is horrified to discover that he’s received only the second-place trophy. Can Cindy-Lou Who find the words to save the day? Replicating many of the original beats and wordplay of the original, this tale feels like less a sequel and more like a vaguely rewritten variation. Meanwhile, Ruiz’s art seeks to bridge the gap between the animated Chuck Jones version of the Grinch and the one depicted in the original book. This thankless task results in a strange uncanny valley between Seuss and Jones but does allow the artist a chance to colorize everything and lend some racial diversity to the Who population (Cindy-Lou is light-skinned). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how many mediocre sequels you can squeeze out of Seussian property. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593563168

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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