A charming Christmas book for all ages.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

In this lovingly packaged illustrated children’s book, everyone has been naughty this year, and Santa is ready to exchange toys for coal, until a very good and wise little girl named Molly sets him straight.

At home in the North Pole, Santa is distressed to learn from one of his elves that the world’s children, from “Alice in Dallas” to “Pio in Rio,” have been unusually bad this year. No presents this year, he decrees, ordering the elf to load the sleigh with coal. “This Christmas I’ll bring them the thing they deserve!” Readers will probably find this uncharacteristically harsh, and so does Molly, who encounters Santa on her hearth as a frowning “stranger in black” (he’s covered with ash). He softens when he realizes that Molly is one of the few “good” children on his list, so much so that he’s willing to be reminded by her that Christmas “marks the birth of a glorious child” who “taught us it’s best if we learn to forgive!” As the story ends, Molly and Santa, along with Molly’s mouse, Nibbles, drive off in the sleigh together to deliver presents. Thach’s book, his first, is a Christian allegory, with Molly’s gentle faith in her fellow children amending Santa’s Old Testament–inspired sense of crime and punishment. (Nibbles’ role is somewhat more difficult to parse.) But the overtly religious content is minimal, and the rhyming text—with the same meter and opening words as “A Visit from St. Nicholas”—is enjoyable and generally not preachy. A glossary in the back explains some of the more poetic words scattered throughout the author’s verse—e.g., “abode,” “espy” and “wrath.” The book’s production values are high, with a red and gold velvet binding and lush, full-color illustrations by Bernal (Brother Jerome and the Angels in the Bakery, 2010, etc.). Bernal’s palette can be a bit oversaturated, but otherwise, his warm illustrations have much the same appeal as Norman Rockwell’s and Fred Mizen’s iconic paintings of Santa. A two-page spread showing Molly, on one page, looking up at Santa beseechingly, and Santa, on the other, glowering downward, is particularly well-done.

A charming Christmas book for all ages.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9825663-1-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bowrider Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A delectable bilingual experience.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO EAT

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo is tasked with nourishing nine famished luchadores.

Following ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market (2019), author/illustrator Raúl the Third and colorist Bay create a second installment in their bilingual series, ¡Vamos!, here following Little Lobo’s journey as he provides sustenance to hungry lucha libre stars. The cheerfully energetic anthropomorphic wolf reprises his role as a bike courier when he receives a message from El Toro and makes his way to el Coliseo, winding and weaving through busy streets. A mouthwatering experience follows as Little Lobo—accompanied by dog Bernabé and rooster pal Kooky Dooky—picks up tacos, diced fruit, freshly made tortillas, flan, and buñuelos from a gathering of food trucks. As in his other work, Raúl the Third imbues his pages with real-world and pop-culture references. An homage to Picasso’s Guernica, recognizable Ciudad Juárez–El Paso landmarks, a Chavo del Ocho inside a barrel, and even a Chapulín Colorado marionette all make the cut. Readers ignorant of these specifics will not feel left out: The busy pages filled with interesting characters and intriguing bilingual signage make readers wish they could jump into the pages and experience the bustling town. Bay’s comic book–style coloring and creative textures provide a deep cultural exposure to the lavish array of Mexican food throughout the spreads. After enjoying the story, readers will keep going back to savor all the minuscule details.

A delectable bilingual experience. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-55704-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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