Predictable, merry mayhem for children who love Christmas sweets.


After being accidentally left behind in Poinsettia, Santa’s puppy may be able to help the Kerstmans with their holiday spirit while he’s there.

Peppermint Bark stowed away on Santa’s sleigh. At the first stop, alerted by the sound of children arguing, the curious pup disembarked. Now, if he wants to get back to the North Pole, Peppermint Bark needs to find and go through one of the portals that Santa uses to manage all his deliveries before Christmas ends. Luckily, young Chris Kerstman can understand exactly what Peppermint Bark is saying and vows to help him. Older sister Holly is not susceptible to the magic…yet. She might not assist with the search except for the fact that her friend Ivy, who is visiting over the holiday, can hear the pup, too. While the premise is a stretch, the quest brings about plenty of cheerful chaos and leads to the expected warm observations about family and friends. The Kerstmans are white, Ivy is Japanese American, and the cast of townsfolk superficially represent other cultural backgrounds. Plus elves and reindeer. As her family does not celebrate the holiday, Ivy is with the Kerstmans in order to learn about its traditions. There are passing references to Nativity scenes, but the focus is on the secular.

Predictable, merry mayhem for children who love Christmas sweets. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-358-05184-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.


From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?


This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

Did you like this book?