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RANDY, THE BADLY DRAWN REINDEER!

A merry, bright, and silly Christmas tale.

A third metafictive story about the “badly drawn horse,” this time for the Christmas bookshelf.

As in the prior titles about Randy, illustrations look as though they were torn from a child’s coloring book, with colorful, carefully crayoned detail. Speech balloon text from offstage characters—a child excitedly sharing the story with a caregiver before bed—focuses attention on Randy himself, whose dialogue forms the main text. He learns about Christmas and becomes enamored of Santa’s reindeer. Following a suggestion from the unseen child (“If only Randy were a reindeer….Then he could help Santa!”), Randy decides he wants to join them in pulling the sleigh through the Christmas Eve sky. Alas, his attempts to prance, fly, and eat carrots are, though hilariously endearing, less than successful and tiring. A forlorn Randy collapses with exhaustion and is alarmed when he wakes up on Christmas morning, too late to pull Santa’s sleigh. A happy ending emerges, however, when Randy discovers a gift from Saint Nick, perfect for his reindeer aspirations. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A merry, bright, and silly Christmas tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26384-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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HOW TO CATCH A MAMASAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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