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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

INFINITE COUNTRY

A 15-year-old girl in Colombia, doing time in a remote detention center, orchestrates a jail break and tries to get home.

"People say drugs and alcohol are the greatest and most persuasive narcotics—the elements most likely to ruin a life. They're wrong. It's love." As the U.S. recovers from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, from the misery of separations on the border, from both the idea and the reality of a wall around the United States, Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read. Weaving Andean myth and natural symbolism into her narrative—condors signify mating for life, jaguars revenge; the embattled Colombians are "a singed species of birds without feathers who can still fly"; children born in one country and raised in another are "repotted flowers, creatures forced to live in the wrong habitat"—she follows Talia, the youngest child, on a complex journey. Having committed a violent crime not long before she was scheduled to leave her father in Bogotá to join her mother and siblings in New Jersey, she winds up in a horrible Catholic juvie from which she must escape in order to make her plane. Hence the book's wonderful first sentence: "It was her idea to tie up the nun." Talia's cross-country journey is interwoven with the story of her parents' early romance, their migration to the United States, her father's deportation, her grandmother's death, the struggle to reunite. In the latter third of the book, surprising narrative shifts are made to include the voices of Talia's siblings, raised in the U.S. This provides interesting new perspectives, but it is a little awkward to break the fourth wall so late in the book. Attention, TV and movie people: This story is made for the screen.

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982159-46-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more