If you give a mouse a friend, you get a happy ending to a new take on an old Christmas favorite.

MOUSE'S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

What if a mouse was stirring on Christmas Eve?

Corderoy’s text opens with lines from “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” but it quickly shifts to tell quite a different tale: “On that night before Christmas, / dear reader, you see, / there was one little mouse / as awake as could be.” Sadly, this stirring Mouse is lonesome on Christmas Eve, so he makes a wish on the star at the top of a Christmas tree for a friend. No sooner does he do so than “a clatter” arises outside. There, Mouse finds Santa calling his reindeer by name to make sure they’re all accounted for after his sleigh is grounded by a storm. Santa and his team are lost, so Mouse offers to help guide them through the neighborhood to make sure all of the children receive their presents. Massini’s art makes terrific use of rich, black, nighttime skies in contrast with the white snowfall, rooftops, and landscape below, and Santa’s sleigh itself seems made of starlight as it sails through the air. Mouse’s wish is granted at the book’s end, with Santa gifting him not one but two pairs of skates—the second pair for a new friend who shared the very same wish Mouse made earlier.

If you give a mouse a friend, you get a happy ending to a new take on an old Christmas favorite. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1440-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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