Some joyless adults will object to the “stinky baby” theme, but lots of kids will find the mischievous mayhem a refreshing...

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THE WORST TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Six-year-old Joy has a less-than-joyful attitude at Christmas due to her boisterous baby brother, Sam.

The text intersperses rhyming couplets with the familiar structure of the often-parodied Christmas song, but instead of a partridge in a pear tree, the repeated conclusion here is “a stinky baby messing with the tree.” Little Sam, who clearly needs more adult supervision, wreaks havoc on Joy’s Christmas decorations and activities, ripping open her wrapped gifts, eating the heads off her gingerbread men and snapping the wings off her beloved treetop angel. Joy huffs off to bed in a snit on Christmas Eve, but Christmas morning brings a happy resolution: All the broken items have been mended (where possible), and Sam says his first word, “Joy.” Computer-generated illustrations have moody, glowing lighting suited to Joy’s mercurial emotions, and creative use of swirling lines and jagged edges indicate the out-of-control nature of the household. Joy looks more like a teenager than a 6-year-old, and Sam is incredibly dexterous for his age, but the illustrations capture the bold baby’s impish transgressions with flair.

Some joyless adults will object to the “stinky baby” theme, but lots of kids will find the mischievous mayhem a refreshing alternative to sticky-sweet holiday stories. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0033-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

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Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A nice sentiment marred somewhat by its forced verse.

A BOOK OF LOVE

A how-to book of love.

Valentine’s Day brings a new crop of books each year about love, including at least one that attempts to define and exemplify love. This is that book for 2020. “We often show our love with touch, / like a great big hug or kiss. / But there are lots of ways to show you care, / and ideas not to miss.” These include being patient, listening to someone who’s having a tough day, gifts, kind deeds (like washing the dishes), “forgiving and forgetting,” sharing with siblings, standing up for people, and looking past faults. In some cases, the pictures may not aid much in comprehension, especially with the younger audience the rhymes are meant to appeal to: “To offer a gentle word or two, / and consider how others feel, / are both examples of selfless acts / that prove your love is real” (one child cheers on a frightened soloist at a recital—does that really illustrate selflessness?). The meter is sometimes off, and in a few cases it’s clear words were chosen for rhyme rather than meaning. Bright illustrations fill the pages with adorable children readers can trace throughout the book. The final two spreads are the strongest: One depicts a robustly diverse crowd of people all holding hands and smiling; the other is a starry spread over a neighborhood full of homes, hearts spangling the sky.

A nice sentiment marred somewhat by its forced verse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9331-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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