A three-year-old girl named Bella is confused about the actual timing of Christmas in this British import from McKay (Saffy’s Angel, p. 661, etc.). The story begins by introducing Bella and her cat, Black Jack, who have grown together from their first Christmas when they were babies and didn’t understand Christmas at all. Now Bella attends a preschool, where she plays the part of a shepherd in the Nativity play and Black Jack plays the part of her lamb. After Santa visits the preschool, Bella mistakenly thinks that Christmas is over and that she and Black Jack have missed receiving their presents. Her mother, father, and grandmother each patiently list all the holiday tasks and pleasures that must be experienced before Christmas will be all over. Many of their traditions are British ones that are different from those in the US (Christmas crackers, mince pies, sausage rolls, tea for Santa), and some of Bella’s expressions (“Is it Christmas at last?”) are distinctly British, though their location is never specified. Still, it’s nice to find true Britishisms in a text for American readers. Soft, expressive watercolor illustrations are pleasant additions, though their pastel palette and old-fashioned feeling, along with Bella’s young age, make the story seem more intended for toddlers than the longer text would indicate. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84765-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween.


This board book twists the traditional “Teeny Tiny” tale into a less-scary Halloween treat.

This version uses a singsong-y rhythm and cadence to tell the story. “In the teeny tiny barn / Of a teeny tiny house... / Lived a teeny tiny ghost / and a teeny tiny mouse.” Of course the ghost (being teeny tiny) is not very frightening. “But the determined little ghost / Let her mighty courage through / And with a teeny tiny breath / She said a teeny tiny: boo.” Spoiler alert: After just seven page turns the ghost and mouse become friends: “And now the teeny tinies play / In the teeny tiny house. / Just a teeny tiny ghost / And her best friend, mouse.” Pumpkins decorate the cover and final spread and illustrations throughout are in autumnal hues. The fairly high-for-the-format word count—19 to 21 words per page—may be more than toddlers will sit still for, but the “teeny tiny” repetition and rhymes will help. The size (just 6 inches square) makes using the book with a group a challenge, but with a lap-sitting child, it’ll be a pleasure.

A satisfying friendship story to share with very young children in the days leading up to Halloween. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31848-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Sweet and practical holiday advice delivered by two darling dinos.


Tiny T. Rex shares the top six tricks of treating for those wanting to become Halloween Treat-masters.

“The very best part of Halloween is the Treats,” the book opens. “It is a mathematically proven fact.” From there, Tiny T. Rex and pal Pointy, who declare themselves masters of treating, share their tricks, which range from what to wear (with a caveat to avoid wearing multiple costumes at once) to being sure to express “thank you” (even frightful creatures have manners, after all) to the “greatest trick” of all—sharing treats. Stutzman’s play on trick-or-treating, coupled with original words like Nom-bies and Crawly-creeps, give this board book a refreshingly original take on familiar Halloween themes. Fleck’s illustrations depict the dinos as endearing and playful. Tiny T. Rex has two pointy, nonintimidating teeth and a diminutive stature, and Pointy’s ever so pointy back plates are incorporated into its costume as a unicorn with a rainbow-colored tail. And who can resist a dinosaur wearing “mitties” over its hands? The brightly colored illustrations are visually appealing, and the details give readers plenty to observe. From showing gratitude for a cucumber “treat” handed out from a basket of veggies to sharing their haul with a homebound friend, these dinosaurs are adorable in more ways than one.

Sweet and practical holiday advice delivered by two darling dinos. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8490-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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