An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the...

CLICK, CLACK, HO! HO! HO!

Cronin and Lewin are back with a Christmas story to add to their popular series starring the barnyard buddies from Click, Clack, Moo (2000) and its many successors.

Duck is all ready for Christmas Eve, as evidenced by the Santa hat he wears in a close-up view on the cover. Farmer Brown is preparing for Christmas inside the house, hanging up stockings for some of the animals (but alas, not for poor Duck). Outside, Duck has constructed a zip line running downhill from the barn to the house. Wearing his night-vision goggles, Duck zips over to the house and then tries to go down the chimney before Santa’s arrival. “HO! HO! Uh-oh. Duck is stuck.” In turn, each group of animals zips over to “go up and unstuck Duck” and gets stuck themselves before Santa breaks up the chimney bottleneck in a hilarious, sooty conclusion. A final wordless page shows Santa flying off again, wearing Duck’s night-vision goggles. This is a Christmas story that has it all: beloved characters, physical humor, and an original idea, as well as a short, funny text that effectively uses repeated phrases. Lewin’s loose watercolor illustrations with bold outlines are cozy in the interior scenes and magical in the outdoor settings, with midnight blue skies, dots of white snow, and a hazy full moon that shows off Santa and his reindeer.

An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the Click Clack crowd. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9673-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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