This adroit amalgamation of two beloved Christmas stories will be best appreciated by children already familiar with both...

THE NUTCRACKER'S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

A Christmas Eve performance of The Nutcracker ballet runs amok with multiple mishaps but is saved in the nick of time by the arrival on set of Santa Claus and his elves.

The familiar rhyme and rhythm of “The Night Before Christmas” serve as the structure for this clever melding of two beloved holiday stories. An all-child cast is about to perform The Nutcracker, but the day of the performance is filled with mishaps, from torn tutus to sick stagehands to a broken nutcracker. Santa and the elves fix everything and even lend the sleigh and reindeer to the Sugarplum Fairy to use in the performance. The play is performed on Christmas Eve, and Santa steps on stage during curtain calls for “a rollicking round of applause.” Large-format illustrations with a double-spread format and horizontal orientation ably capture the backstage and onstage scenes. The multiethnic children who make up the cast seem a little too young to be putting on The Nutcracker, but the roly-poly kids are undeniably cute in their mouse and flower costumes. Two final pages include a plot summary of The Nutcracker and a glossary of ballet terms.

This adroit amalgamation of two beloved Christmas stories will be best appreciated by children already familiar with both tales rather than as an introduction to The Nutcracker ballet. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58536-889-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more