Babies and toddlers can't anticipate what they have not yet fully experienced, and this book will do little to build...

CHRISTMAS AT LAST!

A bear family anticipates Christmas in this slightly oversized board book.

Overlapping, stocking-shaped pages create easy handholds for a toddler to turn the sturdy card stock nested in a box frame. Each stocking is decorated in busy patterns—red polka dots for Daddy Bear, red, white, and blue stripes and squares for Momma, green trees for Baby, etc. The rhyming verses describe an odd assortment of presents that each cheerful bear finds in its stocking—a hat for Daddy, a scarf for Momma, mittens for Bobby. It is hard to imagine that Bonnie Bear would actually exclaim “Perfect for my dolly!” when she finds a choking hazard (buttons) in her stocking. When Baby Bear finds a carrot, he is visibly disappointed. Then the whole family goes outside to make a snowman using the hat, scarf, mittens, buttons, and carrot. With no context or prior experience, young children won't understand the mystery of the odd gifts in the stockings. Toddlers will enjoy turning the pages but won't have patience for the rhyming verses or vague storyline.

Babies and toddlers can't anticipate what they have not yet fully experienced, and this book will do little to build excitement or even curiosity about Christmas; better just bundle up and build a snowman instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-79455-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside.

EIGHT JOLLY REINDEER

Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. 

In each one of the mostly double-page spreads, one reindeer, from Dasher to Blitzen, plays a central role in a winter activity (sledding, ski jumping, ice skating—and soccer and yoga?) that launches the creature into the air. Glitter-speckled tabs, each with small portraits of a member of Santa's herd, appear at either the top or the right side of each page, which little fingers will enjoy flipping. In what looks to be pencil-and-watercolor cartoons, Rogers uses different facial expressions, as well as collars, bows or other accessories, to distinguish the reindeer from one another. Donner (not Donder) and Blitzen are squeezed together on the penultimate spread, likely to keep the page count down. The verse mostly scans, but the rhyme scheme has become the cliché of counting books: "Eight jolly reindeer / stretching up to heaven. / Up goes Dasher / and then there are... // Seven...." Santa, his iconic sleigh and the eight reindeer in flight make a dramatic and required appearance on the book's final double-page spread. 

As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what’s inside. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-65145-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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