A scrumptious treat to be savored and enjoyed, just like a fine holiday dinner.

MIRACLE ON 133RD STREET

On Christmas Eve, a large apartment house on 133rd Street in the Bronx becomes the site of a multicultural neighborhood party.

Manzano, a Pura Belpré honoree and Maria on Sesame Street, teams up with Caldecott honoree Priceman for this vibrant story. The setting is the apartment of a Puerto Rican family preparing their special Christmas Eve dinner. Mami is trying to cook a huge roast, but it won’t fit in her small oven. Papi and José decide to take the roast to their friend who owns a pizzeria to see if he can help. On their way, they meet several neighbors and friends of different ages and ethnic groups; all are stressed, lonely, or worried about money. When the father and son return with the cooked roast, its delicious aroma transforms everyone who smells it, wafting them along on swirls of contented delight. They all float up the stairs to the apartment for a Christmas Eve dinner, fitting everyone into just one small apartment—a Christmas miracle. The polished text uses dramatic pacing, dialogue, emotion, and characterization to excellent effect. Priceman’s dazzling illustrations are filled with pulsating energy, glowing colors, and the radiant smiles of the neighbors who find community together. A magical, hopeful vitality permeates the art, reflected in multiple swirling elements wound through the illustrations.

A scrumptious treat to be savored and enjoyed, just like a fine holiday dinner. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-689-87887-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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SCAREDY SQUIRREL HAS A BIRTHDAY PARTY

From the Scaredy Squirrel series , Vol. 5

When Scaredy Squirrel plans a party, he concentrates on maximum security, not maximum fun. His checklist: "Confirm date of birth; pick a safe location; choose party colors; get tuxedo dry-cleaned; prepare cake recipe; practice breathing (to blow up balloons/blow out candles); mail party invitation to myself." That's right—there’s only one guest at Scaredy's birthday party, and it's himself. But when his chum Buddy sends him a birthday card, he reconsiders his guest list to include his pal, even making the momentous decision to hold his party on the ground instead of in his tree. Replete with the lists and diagrams that are this OCD rodent's hallmarks, the story unfolds with both humor and some useful etiquette tips. From conversational gambits (good: "If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?"; bad: "Is that a muskrat on your head? Oops... it's a toupee") to the "dos and don'ts of partying" (do: sit quietly; don't: double-dip), kids will find much to laugh at and think about. Typically (for a Scaredy adventure), despite a plan so complete it includes tooth-brushing breaks, a surprise happens—party animals show up! Watt’s wry digital illustrations make the most of the perceived mayhem, using a host of graphic conventions to tell her story. There's no question it's a formula by now, but it's still a winning one. Many happy returns, Scaredy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-468-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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