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THE NAVY'S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Young readers who like ships and planes will be drawn to this setting, and anyone with a connection to the U.S. Navy would...

Following a previous military-themed Christmas parody, The Soldiers’ Night Before Christmas (2006), this sequel offers a similar celebration, set this time aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

The young sailor who narrates the story is standing watch on Christmas Eve on the tower of an aircraft carrier. The other sailors are “nestled all snug in their racks / Like orders of pancakes, so tight were the stacks.” Suddenly the night’s peace is interrupted by the arrival of a Seahawk helicopter, a squadron of Hornet fighter jets and a submarine full of SEALs. Next, a cargo plane lands on deck, spilling out a load of presents and Master Chief Claus, a barrel-chested, lantern-jawed leader with definite command presence. His eight assistants fill up sea bags with gifts for all the sailors aboard, and along with Master Chief Claus, they fill a stocking for each sailor and cover each one with a homemade quilt, “every stitch set with love.” The text follows the familiar pattern of “The Night Before Christmas” with overall success, though a couple of rhymes run aground. Bold paintings in a loose style bring all the naval personnel to life and capture the drama of the ships and aircraft arriving on this busy Christmas Eve.

Young readers who like ships and planes will be drawn to this setting, and anyone with a connection to the U.S. Navy would be pleased to find this under the Christmas tree. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-36998-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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HOW TO CATCH A DADDYSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

This frenetic ode to fatherhood is predictable fare but may please series fans.

It’s time to look for the elusive Daddysaurus.

In this latest installment in the seemingly never-ending series about a group of diverse kids attempting to trap mythical creatures, the youngsters are now on the lookout for a big mauve dinosaur with an emblazoned D on his stomach and a superhero cape. The fast-moving Daddysaurus is always on the go; he will be difficult to catch. Armed with blueprints of possible ideas, the kids decide which traps to set. As in previous works, ones of the sticky variety seem popular. They cover barbells with fly paper (Daddysaurus like to exercise) and spread glue on the handle of a shovel (Daddysaurus also likes to garden). One clever trick involves tempting Daddysaurus with a drawing of a hole, taped to the wall, because he fixes everything that breaks. Daddysaurus is certainly engaged in the children’s lives, not a workaholic or absent, but he does fall into some standard tropes associated with fathers. The rhyming quatrains stumble at times but for the most part bounce along. Overall, though, text and art feel somewhat formulaic and likely will tempt only devotees of the series. The final page of the book (after Daddysaurus is caught with love) has a space for readers to write a note or draw a picture of their own Daddysaurus. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This frenetic ode to fatherhood is predictable fare but may please series fans. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72826-618-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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