WHERE DOES JOE GO?

A sprightly set of illustrations from the always inventive Pearson (The Purple Hat, 1997, etc.) offer hints on one of the biggest mysteries of the ages—Saint Nick’s summer job. Joe comes to town each spring to open up Joe’s Snack Bar, selling hot dogs, ice cream, and fries to an enthusiastic and varied summertime public. Every fall, he disappears, and folks wonder where he goes. Breaking into rhyme, the townspeople offer various scenarios: “ ‘He’s gone to the moon!’/cried tiny June,” or having tea with the queen, “whispered Molly McLeen” or off to the pyramids, “yelled all the Biddy kids.” Each spread is full of friendly colors and the wiggly details of people, places, and cats. Joe and his trademark food items appear in each, too, with nibbles tossed to the alligators in Okefenokee or the dolphins from a cruise ship. Joe returns, of course, the following spring, red-checked, round-bellied, and with a full white beard. Just in case readers still don’t know how he spends the winters, the last, wordless page offers a can’t-miss clue, and the reindeer like ice cream, too. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-38319-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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MOUSE'S FIRST CHRISTMAS

Mouse’s First Christmas (32 pp.; $12.00; Oct. 1; 0-689-82325-8) Arriving in the snowy avalanche of holiday titles, this book begins with a bit of rhymed play on the beginning of Clement Moore’s poem, as Mouse investigates something “sweet and sparkly,” a cookie, “warm and melty” hot cocoa, and so on through candy, bells, angels, candles, presents, the tree, and finally, Santa himself. The language is either twee or pedestrian, and doesn’t really engage readers or onlookers in Mouse’s mission. The illustrations are done in thick holiday pigments: reds, greens, blues, and golds; the typeface is occasionally treated playfully. Insubstantial but wrapped prettily. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-82325-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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OLD DOG CORA AND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

From Powell (A Bold Carnivore, 1995) comes Gary Paulsen-like insight: Once a sled dog, always a sled dog, for although a Newfoundland named Cora is getting too old to pull, her owners can’t get the hearty dog to quit. Every Christmas the dogs help a mother, father, and Susan bring home a Christmas tree from the snowy woods. This year, Cora is not hitched up with the other two sled dogs in her bright red harness. She refuses to stay home, and follows the family into the forest. At first Cora gets underfoot; the family doesn’t understand what she is trying to do. But when the tree is selected, chopped down, and tied to the sled, Cora leads the other dogs—helping in spirit, if not in fact. Powell’s colorful woodcuts portray a crisp snow-filled north woods with deep blue shadows and green pines. The Yuletide setting is background dressing; the interactions of dogs and family predominate. An affectionate, unusual story. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8075-5968-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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