A nice addition to the holiday collection.

READ REVIEW

SAMMY SPIDER'S FIRST TASTE OF HANUKKAH

A COOKBOOK

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.

RED AND LULU

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 Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season.

HOW WINSTON DELIVERED CHRISTMAS

Neither snow nor rain nor mountains of yummy cheese stay the carrier of a letter to Santa.

So carelessly does 8-year-old Oliver stuff his very late letter to Santa into the mailbox that it falls out behind his back—leaving Winston, a “small, grubby white mouse” with an outsized heart, determined to deliver it personally though he has no idea where to go. Smith presents Winston’s Christmas Eve trek in 24 minichapters, each assigned a December “day” and all closing with both twists or cliffhangers and instructions (mostly verbal, unfortunately) for one or more holiday-themed recipes or craft projects. Though he veers occasionally into preciosity (Winston “tried to ignore the grumbling, rumbling noises coming from his tummy”), he also infuses his holiday tale with worthy values. Occasional snowy scenes have an Edwardian look appropriate to the general tone, with a white default in place but a few dark-skinned figures in view. Less-crafty children will struggle with the scantly illustrated projects, which run from paper snowflakes to clothespin dolls and Christmas crackers with or without “snaps,” but lyrics to chestnuts like “The 12 Days of Christmas” (and “Jingle Bells,” which is not a Christmas song, but never mind) at the end invite everyone to sing along.

A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-983-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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