THE SOLDIERS’ NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Using the familiar structure of the classic Christmas poem, Holland and Ford offer a witty parody that serves up a unique vision of a Santa who is very different from the traditional St. Nick. A young soldier serving as the narrator sees Sergeant McClaus arrive on base in a Blackhawk helicopter, followed by eight Christmas-green Humvees decked out in gold tinsel and twinkling lights. This commanding figure stands 6’6” in his camouflage uniform and red Santa hat, with a stub of cigar instead of a pipe. He and his drivers bring in sea bags filled with gifts for the soldiers: homemade goodies, phone cards, photos from home and artwork from children. The gifts are quickly deposited in helmets and boots, and then with a sharp salute and some hearty ho-ho-hos, Sergeant McClaus and his convoy take off for their next stop with a wish for peace for all. Jazzy illustrations in a cartoon style bring the military characters to life, especially the craggy-faced Sergeant McClaus. This will be popular with children who like brash superheroes, as well as with families and friends of those serving in the military. (Picture book. 5+)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83795-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2006

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ROSES ARE PINK, YOUR FEET REALLY STINK

The annual classroom exchange of valentines is the backdrop for this engaging story about retaliation. Gilbert remembers how hurt he felt when Lewis tweaked his nose and when Margaret made fun of his glasses. So when he's faced with 15 blank valentine cards, each one waiting for a poem, he decides to hurt them in return. ``Roses are red, you wet your bed. I think that you have rocks in your head,'' goes to Margaret (he signs it ``Lewis''), while Lewis's card carries the sentiments of the book's title (Gilbert signs that one ``Margaret''). Gilbert feels remorse, however, upon receiving pleasant valentines from both of them, and his regret is compounded when his deceit is discovered and he is shunned by the class. An apology and two new poems from Gilbert patch things up in time for the Valentine's Day party. These hazardous waters of handing out valentines are negotiated by a cast of animals whose emotional toils will closely mirror readers' own. DeGroat pens a sympathetic look at the small hurts in life and the importance of second chances. (Picture book. 5+)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-688-13604-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1995

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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