‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

AND OTHER SEASONAL FAVORITES

Lach pairs 19 poems (including some song lyrics treated as poems) with art from the Metropolitan Museum in New York in a thoughtfully compiled Christmas anthology. The collection includes many traditional selections, such as the passage from Luke with the angel announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds, “The Night Before Christmas,” and the words to several Christmas carols and one spiritual. Works are included from well-known poets such as Poe, Longfellow, Walter de la Mare, Lewis Carroll, e.e. cummings, Ogden Nash, and Langston Hughes, along with a stunning, though perhaps lesser-known poem by Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky. The striking art features a wide variety of media, including reproductions of a stained-glass window panel, an antique Christmas card, a tapestry, and a collage, as well as some more traditional Rackham illustrations. The overall tone of the collection is sophisticated and elegant, and most children will require an adult’s help to appreciate the volume’s understated charm. (Poetry. 5+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8109-4592-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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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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Yet another novel about dreading middle school, this breezy beach read is well-done but offers little new.

11 BEFORE 12

Two BFFs tackle the anxiety-riddled transition to middle school by creating a list of 11 things to accomplish before their 12th birthdays in November.

Kaylan has what her Italian grandmother called “agita”—anxiety—and she has maximum-high levels at the prospect of sixth grade with its cliques and mean girls. Lots is changing in the white girl’s life: her dad has moved to Arizona and her mom is sad; her one-year-older brother, Ryan, once her friend, is now her tormentor; and she is beginning to get butterflies around boys. Kaylan and her best friend, Ari, white and Jewish, create a list, ranging from getting detention and makeovers to first kisses and sabotaging Ryan. When Ari connects with friends from Hebrew school and summer camp, the two BFFs fight. Kaylan’s not-quite-teen first-person voice perfectly captures the horrors of starting at a new school, from the prospect of eating alone in the cafeteria to the awkwardness of meeting a new neighbor boy, biracial (black/white) Jason. Jason supplies most of the book’s diversity; one of the indistinguishable lunch-table friends mentions being Korean but is undeveloped as a character. As is typical for the genre, Kaylan matures and learns to cope with unpredictability, even participating in the talent show as the fastest clementine peeler in school.

Yet another novel about dreading middle school, this breezy beach read is well-done but offers little new. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241174-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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