Perfect for snuggling up with on a cozy Christmas Eve.



A young chipmunk wonders what Christmas is and sets out to find the answer.

His mother encourages him to think about what the holiday means. As they walk through the forest, they see woodland animals busily preparing for the arrival of Christmas. Badgers decorate with berries, a beetle family marches up a tree with presents strapped to their backs, and geese sing carols as they fly overhead. With each turn of the page, the little chipmunk asks “Is that Christmas?” Each is a part of Christmas, Mama tells him, but he still doesn’t understand. The little chipmunk falls asleep wondering if he’ll ever know what Christmas is. Charming illustrations with a retro, Disney-esque feel offer close-up views of life in the forest. As Christmas dawns, the woods are blanketed in snow, the chipmunk’s head the only thing visible against starkly white pages. He and Mama head up a hill and join all of the birds and animals in a joyful celebration of community. At last, the little chipmunk understands what Christmas is about. A simple, repetitive pattern of observation, question, and Mama’s wise answer builds suspense for children who also ponder the true meaning of Christmas. The book’s sparkly cover with its straightforward title will assure children that they will, in the end, know what Christmas is.

Perfect for snuggling up with on a cozy Christmas Eve. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1090-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Jeter Children's/Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.


Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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