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

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.


A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Kid-friendly dark humor.


The chicken crosses the road…and arrives on the other side as a ghost.

The action kicks off before the title page when the chicken crossing the road winds up a splatter of feathers against the grille of a tractor trailer. When its ghost rises from the squished remains, it meets a host of other animal ghosts that encourage the new poultrygeist to start getting scary. They probably didn’t realize, however, that they’d be the ones to be frightened. Geron’s text is full of punny lines like “It’s time to get foul, fowl!” and “Ghosts of a feather haunt together!” Midway through, the poultrygeist turns to readers to make sure they’re not too scared. This is a nice touch, maintaining engagement while also giving more timid readers time to take a beat. Oswald’s illustrations display masterful use of color, with bright, ghostly animals against a dark, often all-black background, the dialogue shown in colors that correspond to the speakers. These ghosts do become scary but not enough to completely terrorize readers. Oswald’s skill is seen in full effect, as readers witness only the animal ghosts’ reactions to the poultrygeist’s scariest face, building suspense for the full reveal. This book is just right for kids easing into the slightly scary and macabre but who still want a safe and fun read.

Kid-friendly dark humor. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1050-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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