THE THANKSGIVING VISITOR

Were it not that the gently luminous features of the brilliant actress Geraldine Page, who appeared in Capote's Christmas Memory on TV last year, haunt this latest fictional memoir like a benign ghost, one might balk at the author's slide into commercial sentimentality. Again the boy and his childlike, middle-aged friend, "Miss Sook" here, prepare for a holiday. But instead of the exquisite ordinaries of a shared world, this time a contrived situation blocks out rather than illuminates the friendship and the character of Miss Sook. That vague and loving lady in her innocence and inexperience sets herself toward pumping charity into the boy, Buddy, as he suffers under the torments of a twelve-year-old bully, Odd Henderson. Odd is a poverty stricken hellion with a pride to match his meanness. Invited defiantly by Miss Sook to the clan's Thanksgiving, Odd is a social success, but Buddy has triumphantly observed him stealing Miss Sook's cameo, a talisman charged with private meanings. Buddy accuses Odd publicly and the remainder is slick as goose grease — Miss Sook ignores the theft; the good angel of Odd's nature is touched; Buddy is wooed back from his devastation at Miss Sook's defection by homilies and turkey. Alas, Miss Sook has taken to lecturing, but come Fall TV, assuredly Miss Page will bring her back to life. If you tune out on this one — tune in for the TV version. This brief tale will appear in McCalls.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1968

ISBN: 0679838988

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1968

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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