Read this one for the lovely lunar illustrations.

THE MOON IS A SILVER POND

This richly illustrated board book uses the moon to explore metaphor.

Bisaillon’s art takes center stage as readers follow along looking for the moon in different objects, beginning with the titular statement. Some are fairly obvious (a pail of milk, a shiny hubcap), while others are more obscure (a tooth, a pillow). These metaphors rely heavily on Bisaillon’s artwork to communicate meaning to readers. This works out in the case of “the head of the nail,” its shiny, pocked, gray surface clearly a miniature moon. For others, such as the “apple pie,” it’s harder to find the moon’s likeness in the object depicted. Because the concept of a metaphor is a big one for board-book readers, when it’s difficult to see an object’s resemblance to the moon, the idea may be lost. Bisaillon’s illustrations—in cut paper, pastels, watercolors, pencils, and digital collage—are truly stunning. In addition to the show-stopping opening and closing wintry forest scenes, a real standout shows a bird’s-eye view of the moon’s glow cast through a window across the child’s bedroom. Humans are not represented with gender stereotypes (heads and facial features are largely excluded), but all visible skin reads as white. Overall, a largely successful effort to convey metaphors to young readers. Even though they don’t all quite work out, the beautiful illustrations mostly make up for it.

Read this one for the lovely lunar illustrations. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1864-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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