Exactly what readers want and expect from the board-book master.

POOKIE'S THANKSGIVING

From the Little Pookie series

Pookie and family celebrate Thanksgiving.

Boynton’s precocious little pig is back in this holiday installment. The family gets ready for Thanksgiving by baking pies, welcoming Nemmy and Boppa for dinner, and sharing gratitude (and pie!). Boynton’s familiar rhyming text and simple, thick-lined illustrations are exactly what readers have come to expect from this series: Pookie is a little silly, the story bounces along, and the artwork is warm and cozy. Though most of the action takes place inside, the passage of day is clear through the window, from daylight to the setting sun. Decorations and a tree with just a few leaves on it indicate the autumnal season. There are two pages where numbers are called out, presented differently from the rest of the typeface (Pookie and their parents prepare apple pie and one pumpkin pie, and there will be five guests at dinner). The only bolded digits are one and five, even though the text does mention that there will be a total of two pies—a stylistic choice that seems to point readers to counting practice but that feels a bit random. Overall, though, this is a worthy new story about one of Boynton’s most beloved characters. True to form, it’s a toddler-friendly read, providing context for the festivities and a sweet representation of gratitude. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Exactly what readers want and expect from the board-book master. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-263-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Cute and sprightly but not a standout.

MOO, BAA, FA LA LA LA LA!

Deck the stalls?

A bevy of barnyard animals, a cat, and some dogs get fully into the Christmas spirit by sprucing up the farm with colorful decorations, including holly berries and sparkling baubles. They have a great time and sing while going about their merry chores in a manner somewhat in keeping with the rhythm of the classic tune “Deck the Halls.” (In fact, a flock of sheep are shown holding song sheets for it.) As might be expected with these particular celebrants, some of the familiar lyrics are altered just a bit; for instance, “boughs of holly” is “translated” as “cows and holly.” Adult readers expecting the rhythm here to work exactly as it does in the original will be disappointed, because it doesn’t—it’s clunky. This is merely a brief, lightweight spoof of the familiar ditty, so it’s recommended that grown-ups read rather than sing this—except for that final line!—to very young targeted audiences, who may be unfamiliar with the actual song anyway. Some fun is still to be had in the illustrations, however. The spirited, wittily expressive animal characters are depicted having a fine time romping about and producing a variety of onomatopoeic sounds throughout. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Cute and sprightly but not a standout. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66591-435-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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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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