Gross but that’s what they were going for.

Christmas is going to stink this year.

This tale from the creators of The Great Big Poop Party (2020) finds children requesting that Santa bring them not toys or treats but Christmas poo, and Santa doesn’t know what to do. Santa is not a fan of bathroom humor and takes a stance against the pro-poop majority at the North Pole, which includes Mrs. Claus, an abominable snowman, and the elves. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Santa has a limited view of Christmas enjoyment, while the others realize that the holiday can mean many things to different people: ‘I just don’t think Christmas is the time for poop,’ said Santa. ‘Christmas is a time for peace.’ The elves knew Christmas was a time for peace, but they wondered if it could also be a time for poop.” A chance encounter with a whoopee cushion during a strained discussion might be enough to break the tension and change Santa’s mind. The toilet humor comes fast and furious—so much so that it could make even an atheist say, “Hey, come on, some things are sacred!”—but for children (and caregivers) who can’t get enough poop jokes, this book will be a hit. The energetic mixed-media illustrations keep pace with the text, and a recipe for “Reindeer Dropping Treats” may add a new cookie to families’ holiday rotations of sweets. Santa and Mrs. Claus are light-skinned; the elves vary in skin tone. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gross but that’s what they were going for. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-83710-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022


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


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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