Good for a holiday snuggle with a little one.

I LOVE YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH AT CHRISTMAS, TOO!

Loving assurance comes wrapped in holiday sentiments.

Church’s round-faced toddler will be instantly recognizable from previous titles thanks to the tiny eyes and toothless smile. Whether inside or out, both the child and a teddy-bear companion sport bright red Santa hats. The gentle, first-person text assures this winsome toddler of the narrator’s unconditional love while the text evokes both the frenetic activity of Christmas preparations and the ideals of the season. “[S]hopping and wrapping / making and baking” are balanced by “I love you because you are patient and kind, // merry and bright, // helping and giving.” Sometimes the text rhymes (“I love you with bells and wreaths, // garland and trees”), but instead of forcing consistent rhymes, Rossetti-Shustak relies on rhythm and pacing to deliver her message. Muted greens, russet reds, and tawny backgrounds scattered with stars and snowflakes give the illustrations an old-fashioned feel. The sturdy binding and padded covers will survive rough handling. There’s not a real story here; just an attitude of unmitigated acceptance. The child has light skin and a few wisps of brown hair.

Good for a holiday snuggle with a little one. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-23010-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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The small size, a predictable winter adventure, and Boynton’s very toddlerlike character make this a fine stocking stuffer...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, LITTLE POOKIE

Seven years after Little Pookie (2011) first appeared, this popular piglet is finally celebrating Christmas.

“Oh Pookie! Come look! It’s beginning to snow,” says a maternal-looking pig. But where did Pookie go? Past the Christmas tree, to put on a snowsuit of course. Pookie’s ever cheerful mama is willing to go out too. After all, “It’s a magical time to be walking with you.” When she observes, “Our noses are frozen. It’s time to go in,” Pookie protests in typical toddler style: “But I’m not c-c-c-cold!” The next three pages highlight indoor holiday preparations—making paper garlands, baking and decorating cookies. The rhyming text mirrors the spare illustrations. A spidery type that emulates handwriting makes it clear when Pookie is speaking. Then “the doorbell is ringing. / Our family and friends have arrived for the singing.” The second-to-last spread shows Pookie, mama, and six other pigs—and Boynton’s requisite chicken—singing (“Con brio”), “MER-RY CHRIST-MAS! MER-RY CHRIST-MAS! AND A HAP-PY NEW YEAR!” Conveniently, this text is placed beneath the musical notation. Finally Pookie hangs a stocking and goes off to bed without any fuss, anticipating presents on Christmas morning.

The small size, a predictable winter adventure, and Boynton’s very toddlerlike character make this a fine stocking stuffer or an ideal Christmas Eve read to share with other little piggies. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3724-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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