The familiar rhyme gets a braw shoogle, skooshing along in tandem with scenes of bonnie revelry.

THE 12 DAYS O YULE

A SCOTS CHRISTMAS RHYME

The holiday ditty gets a reworking in thick Scots dialect, from “a reid robin in a rowan tree” on.

The fun comes in reading (or, for the daring, singing) the lyrics aloud: “On the 12th day o Yuletide, / My true luve gied tae me / 12 drummers dirlin, / 11 pipes a-skirlin, / 10 lads a-lowpin, / 9 lassies birlin….” In cleanly drawn illustrations, the shaggy livestock (the “5 gowden rings” are in the noses of golden brown Highland cattle) are as frisky as the lads, clad in short pants, and the tartan-skirted pipers and lassies. Except for the rowan and a stray sheep or “collie dug” (dog) off in the distance, Land keeps his increasingly wintry country scenes from turning overcrowded by moving all the previous gifts offstage until the festive “lowpin birl” that fills the final spread. Rennie closes with a glossary and a pronunciation guide for Scots cardinal and ordinal numbers.

The familiar rhyme gets a braw shoogle, skooshing along in tandem with scenes of bonnie revelry. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-7825-0208-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Still a holiday to believe in—“even if believing looks a little different this year.”

ALWAYS TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS

Safe and socially distant ways to celebrate the joys of Christmas.

There is no direct reference to the pandemic in the text. Instead, to Sargent’s lyrical reminders that Christmas is a time to cherish our families, friends, and neighbors, Chambers pairs festive scenes featuring family groups with one or two children decorating indoors, sitting well spaced around a campfire, or gathering via video hookup. These family groups reflect generational diversity as well as, possibly, at least one family with same-sex parents. On a world map children (one in a wheelchair) stand on different continents and wave at one another. Multiple Santas (both White- and Black-presenting, but the one at the North Pole presents White) deliver gifts while wearing protective masks. (Most of the people celebrating do not wear masks, though one family gathers for a holiday selfie wearing matching red plaid pajamas and masks.) Aside from one nighttime picture of a bright star illuminating a cross atop a church steeple, there is no religious iconography. The author avoids mention of Christian practices too, though she offers several specific suggestions for safe alternatives to traditional secular activities at the end. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 95% of actual size.)

Still a holiday to believe in—“even if believing looks a little different this year.” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-38084-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

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