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Assembly-line workers are being replaced by machines—but Santa? That’s just what Muckle the elf has in mind. Annoyed at Santa’s last-minute changes and the inefficiency of the whole setup, he decides there must be a better way. Behind the text boxes, readers can see the incredibly detailed blueprints for Muckle’s wondrous new machine, the Deliverator. In lighting speed it matches children’s letters with a gift. It can travel around the world in one night, and zip up and down chimneys to make deliveries. But Clara, the mail carrier, has her doubts that the Deliverator can do everything that Santa does. After all, who will eat the milk and cookies, and who really knows the children as well as Santa? Predictably, a glitch causes the Deliverator to fail—and during the most hectic year of all. But the uncomplaining elves have learned that Christmas is not about a schedule, rather about caring, something that can’t be programmed into a computer. And Santa makes a couple of changes of his own: the elves now track orders from a bank of computers in the workroom. However, his other major change—marriage to Mrs. Claus at the finale—seems not to fit in with the flow of the story. Krensky (Shooting for the Moon, p. 802, etc.) has crafted a tale with an obvious lesson, but somehow this does not detract. Rather, it highlights the importance of personal attention and the “little things” in the celebration of Christmas. This is a wonderful complement to Krensky’s first Santa book, How Santa Got His Job (1998), which documents the job experiences and skills that make him perfect for the position. Schindler’s (The Cod’s Tale, p. 1294, etc.) drawings are masterworks of detail, from the reindeer snitching cookies in Santa’s kitchen, to the steam coming from Muckle’s head as he has to reprogram the Deliverator. Keep on truckin’, Santa. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83173-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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