A promising premise and appealing pictures—but no great improvement over the obscure 2004 print version.


Earthly Santa meets a host of alien counterparts in this well-meant holiday tale.

When an amazed Santa witnesses the crash of a flying saucer (“Electrons and protons measured the sky, / As the sound of sleigh bells followed it by”), he just has to help. He joins Jupnick from Jupiter and a teeming crowd of other aliens garbed in red and white fur to help Venick from Venus finish delivering toys until “Christmas shined wonderously before morning’s bright light.” Years later, the aliens return to rescue Christmas on this planet, then sail off singing “Merry Christmas Good Earth, and a Happy New Year!” in “voices of gold.” Much in need of editorial work, the text is not only clumsily modeled on “The Night Before Christmas,” with some Seussian influences, but does not always match the optional audio reading. The cheerily colored, roughly brushed art makes a better impression, as do the tap-activated digital additions—which range from waving pseudopods and whirling stars to Santa’s hearty “Ho-Ho-Ho”s (plus one bellowed “GREAT CAESAR’S GHOST!”) and a variety of chortles.

A promising premise and appealing pictures—but no great improvement over the obscure 2004 print version. (thumbnail index, five savable coloring pages) (iPad holiday storybook app. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Stubborn Pixel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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