A whimsical, magical interpretation of a holiday classic, improved by the additional storyline and the charming narrator.

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Jeffers has created a lovely story incorporating the words of the old folk song with one important change: a clever substitution of Santa as the giver of all the gifts instead of the narrator’s “true love.”

A little girl named Emma is the star of this version, and in a dramatic opening sequence, she surreptitiously opens a package on Christmas Eve with her name on it. The gift is a box decorated with pictures of Santa’s reindeer, and inside is a musical snow globe with a little partridge and a tiny pear-tree branch. After Emma accidentally breaks the snow globe, she falls asleep, heartbroken—and the reindeer magically fly out of the gift box, pulling Santa’s sleigh behind them. Emma climbs aboard, carrying the box with the snow globe, and she is off with Santa, flying on a magical odyssey to find all the animals and characters mentioned in the song. They end up at the North Pole, where Santa repairs her snow globe while Emma is sleeping. When Emma opens her presents on Christmas morning, her intact snow globe is a satisfying surprise. Jeffers uses her signature style to great effect, with varying perspectives, detailed costumes, and light reflecting off snowy surfaces and sparkling jewels (plus Emma’s pet Westie).

A whimsical, magical interpretation of a holiday classic, improved by the additional storyline and the charming narrator.   (artist’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-206615-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along.

THE CRAYONS TRICK OR TREAT

The Crayons return in time for Halloween as vampire-costumed Purple coaches the dressed-up wax pack through its first trick-or-treating venture.

It takes five houses’ worth of door-knocks for this skeleton crew of seven to perfect the protocol, with enough outlandish flubs to generate giggles in Halloween-savvy preschoolers. At Door No. 1, Orange, dressed as a jack-o’-lantern, says, “Give us your candy, Lady.” At the next, the gang, encouraged by Purple to “think holiday,” responds with an impressive array of misguided greetings, including “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy American Cheese Month!” Later, White, levitating impressively in a ghost costume, overreacts to Halloween’s “scary” aspect by overwhelming residents with a “BOO!” Peach, unnamed here but recognizably wrapperless from the initial title, exuberantly (and inappropriately) repeats, “I’m naked!” Finally, the troupe perfects its treat-inducing line, though a certain ghost cannot resist an ad lib. This excursion, like many of the holiday-themed Crayon books, has a smaller trim size, a lower price point, and far less complexity than Daywalt and Jeffers’ first two Crayon titles. Still, the pair deftly let young children in on the jokes through funny, hand-lettered dialogue and the visually telegraphed, all-in haplessness of this well-branded band. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A laugh-inducing Halloween read-along. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-62102-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

HOW TO CATCH A WITCH

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 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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