Adults wishing to share childhood memories with a new generation will appreciate the opportunities this title offers, but...



Packaged as a Christmas trilogy, this edition of Anaya’s nostalgic narrative includes new illustrations and two personal essays, giving readers a historical perspective on some of the multicultural traditions of New Mexico.

In the title, opening story, Anaya presents the story of young Luz, who celebrates Christmas with her mother and ailing abuelo while her soldier father is away at war. In “Season of Renewal,” the solemnity of the mile-long walk to the church for midnight Mass segues to the excitement of children collecting fruit, nuts, and candy from neighbors on Christmas Day. From the Jémez Pueblo’s Matachines dances in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the winter solstice ritual of setting up the tree of life, the author’s recollections of year-end festivities in New Mexico are celebrations of life. “A Child’s Christmas in New Mexico, 1944” is threaded with religious symbolism. Mother’s flour tortillas’ transformation into the family’s eucharist and how the annual rebirth of Christ foreshadows the fertility of spring are memories that have sustained Anaya across the years. “Long after I am a grown man, I will come to the knowledge that not every shepherd arrives at the manger,” he reflects. Córdova’s illustrations are earth-toned and evocative of the retablos found throughout the region. Throughout, the tone is nostalgic, even sentimental, more reflective of an adult looking back than a child’s in-the-moment experience.

Adults wishing to share childhood memories with a new generation will appreciate the opportunities this title offers, but children may find this edition somewhat daunting .(Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-89013-609-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Museum of New Mexico

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


From the Duck and Hippo series , Vol. 3

Hippo dreams of “a good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving.”

It’s not all smooth sailing. Hippo is raking and dreaming of Thanksgiving goodies when Duck plunges into Hippo’s leaf pile and musses it up. When a falling apple bonks Hippo on the head and he then gives it to Duck, Duck thanks him, triggering an invitation to celebrate the day together. The two friends go off to shop and find themselves in mishap after mild mishap, meeting friends and inviting them one by one to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Duck engages in mild tomfoolery, but Hippo maintains his genial calm. That evening, Duck goes back to their friends and suggests that they plan a surprise for Hippo. The next day, Hippo prepares a delicious assortment of traditional (all vegetarian) dishes and then waits for his friends—who show up late with their surprise: more food (eggrolls, sushi, pizza, and peanut-butter–and-jelly tacos), which temporarily puts Hippo out because it “is NOT a good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving feast!” Hippo rapidly gets over himself, and the friends all have a good time. While the message of enjoying fellowship and valuing each individual’s contributions is a worthy one, this meandering tale offers little to chew on in terms of character development or plot. Joyner’s anthropomorphic cartoon animals are cheery, but his illustrations do nothing to give London’s story any depth.

Empty calories . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-0080-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love.


Hugs are for everyone anytime they need a little extra love, but how can you hug a person who lives far away?

Talking on the phone or via computer isn’t enough, but luckily Artie shares a way to send a hug—by writing a letter. Infused with the love a hug carries, these step-by-step instructions begin with finding the right writing implement and paper and taking plenty of time for this important task. The story then follows the letter’s journey from the mail drop through a variety of possible transports (“by two legs and four legs, by four wheels and two wheels”) to the magic of delivery and the even greater joy of getting a reply. Readers as lucky as Artie will receive a return letter that carries the scent of its writer, like Grandma Gertie’s missive, filled with rose petals. Fun wording, like putting the letter in a “special jacket to keep it safe and warm” (an envelope), sticking “a ticket” on the envelope “in just the right spot” (a stamp), and the letter being picked up by a “Hug Delivery Specialist” (postal worker), adds humor, as does Artie’s ever present pet duck. Artie and Grandma Gertie present White; the postal workers and the other people depicted receiving letters throughout are racially and geographically diverse. The realistic illustrations in pencil, watercolor, and digital color expand the story and add a layer of love and humor. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-30692-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet