A nice addition to the holiday collection.



Sammy Spider and his human friend Josh return in a Hanukkah kid-oriented cookbook.

Unlike Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah (1993), which focused solely on the lighting of the candles and doubled as a counting and color concept book, this publication provides a one-page introduction summarizing the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the lasting oil. In the familiar style of the series, Sammy dangles from his web as he listens and asks if he can also celebrate. “Silly little Sammy,” his mother laughs. “Spiders don’t celebrate Hanukkah. Spiders spin webs! But you may watch the Hanukkah festivities while you spin.” So he observes as Josh’s parents list the eight rules for cooking safely. The subsequent recipes include more than just applesauce and latkes and will mostly need adult supervision. They are organized in three sections, with a few recipes for simple snacks (dipping fruit pieces in cinnamon-sugared sour cream), miracle meals (pita pockets filled with cooked ground beef and chopped veggies), and tasty treats (Hanukkah web cake). A fourth section includes crafty ideas for creating a homemade menorah, gift wrap, and even a Sammy Spider spinning puppet. A small web symbol with either an M for meat, D for dairy, or P for pareve is helpfully included in the upper corner of each recipe, all of which are kosher.

A nice addition to the holiday collection. (Cookbook. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5237-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.


A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love.


Hugs are for everyone anytime they need a little extra love, but how can you hug a person who lives far away?

Talking on the phone or via computer isn’t enough, but luckily Artie shares a way to send a hug—by writing a letter. Infused with the love a hug carries, these step-by-step instructions begin with finding the right writing implement and paper and taking plenty of time for this important task. The story then follows the letter’s journey from the mail drop through a variety of possible transports (“by two legs and four legs, by four wheels and two wheels”) to the magic of delivery and the even greater joy of getting a reply. Readers as lucky as Artie will receive a return letter that carries the scent of its writer, like Grandma Gertie’s missive, filled with rose petals. Fun wording, like putting the letter in a “special jacket to keep it safe and warm” (an envelope), sticking “a ticket” on the envelope “in just the right spot” (a stamp), and the letter being picked up by a “Hug Delivery Specialist” (postal worker), adds humor, as does Artie’s ever present pet duck. Artie and Grandma Gertie present White; the postal workers and the other people depicted receiving letters throughout are racially and geographically diverse. The realistic illustrations in pencil, watercolor, and digital color expand the story and add a layer of love and humor. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-30692-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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