THE TOOTH FAIRY VS. SANTA

When Veda loses her first tooth on Christmas Eve, an aspiring tooth fairy must battle Santa for the chance to leave her something.

In Deenihan’s wordy text, Santa Claus (who, like the protagonist fairy and the little girl, appears white with light skin) is surprisingly cranky and territorial about Christmas Eve gift-giving. “Please feel free to come back any other night of the year,” he tells Blue, a fairy on his first lost-tooth mission and out to prove himself worthy of “a spot on the Tooth Fairy Team.” The stakes are high: If he fails to “locate and retrieve the client’s lost tooth” he will “be assigned to the polishing department for one year”—the worst job ever, apparently. But Santa won’t budge when Blue makes his case: “We can’t share Christmas Eve!” And so begins a raucous competition that causes a mess, upending a plate bearing cookies and a carrot. Also on that plate is a letter addressed to both of them that provokes a change of heart in the grinchy Santa. He and Blue clean up, and Blue takes Veda’s tooth and leaves a coin (hard to see in the busy picture), while Santa puts presents under the tree. They leave a note, too, and then Santa takes the triumphant Blue back to Toothtopia. The garish illustrations are more often overcrowded than not, a problem exacerbated by the oddly out-of-sync candy-colored palette.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9080-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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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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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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