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A pinktypical bit of problem-solving with a holiday theme.

Pinkalicious turns a “Secret Snowman” gift from fashion disaster to fab in this easy reader outing.

Joining a recent spate of holiday celebrations that never actually mention a specific holiday, the episode begins when Pinkalicious pulls classmate Molly’s name from the bowl at school and decides to knit her a “pinkamazing” sweater. Unfortunately, the project is beyond Pinkalicious’ knitting powers, and the finished result is a sad mess. What to do? Enter Dad, on his way to an “ugly holiday sweater party” at work…and the next day Molly is delightedly modeling a sweater so encrusted with garland, pompoms, candy, and small ornaments that the ragged original is transformed. In no time Pinkalicious is teaching the entire class, including Ms. Penny, the teacher, how to knit and decorate holiday scarves and other small projects because: “ ’Tis the season to make everything sparklerrific!” In similarly oblique visual nods to certain December festivities, the sedate, finely detailed illustrations feature a gaudy evergreen on Dad’s sweater and a brown-skinned classmate knitting, and then rocking, a red, green, and black scarf. Pinkalicious presents as White (as do Ms. Penny, Mom, Dad, and brother Peter), Molly presents as Black, and the class is racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pinktypical bit of problem-solving with a holiday theme. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-300388-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience.

The How to Catch A… crew try for Comet.

Having already failed to nab a Halloween witch, the Easter Bunny, a turkey, a leprechaun, the Tooth Fairy, and over a dozen other iconic trophies in previous episodes of this bestselling series, one would think the racially diverse gaggle of children in Elkerton’s moonlit, wintry scenes would be flagging…but no, here they lay out snares ranging from a loop of garland to an igloo baited with reindeer moss to an enticing candy cane maze, all in hopes of snagging one of Santa’s reindeer while he’s busy delivering presents. Infused with pop culture–based Christmas cheer (“Now I’ve already seen the shelf with the elf”), Comet prances past the traps until it’s time to gather up the kids, most of whom look terrified, for a group snapshot with the other reindeer and then climb back into harness: “This was a great stop but a few million to go / Christmas Eve must continue with style!” Though festive, the verse feels trite and unlikely to entice youngsters. A sprinkling of “True Facts About Reindeer” (“They live in the tundra, where they have friends like the arctic bunny”) wrap up this celebration of the predatory spirit. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 9781728276137

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2022

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