Points for offering a broad picture even if the presentation is nothing to write home about.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT HOLIDAYS THAT BRING US TOGETHER

From the Sesame Street Scribbles series

Sesame Street characters gather together to celebrate select turn-of-the-year holidays.

Rather than describe specific practices or origins in his clumsily constructed rhyme, Manning hammers on the titular theme and on general feelings of love and togetherness all the way to an inevitable “there’s no place like home.” He leaves it up to the “grown-ups” addressed in closing crib notes to identify the eight holidays highlighted in turn in Kwiat’s set of cartoon feasts and frolics. Throughout, secular customs and symbols get far more play than religious contexts, and the entry for the Lunar New Year (following a description of the calendrical one) retains the parochial header “Chinese New Year.” However, the gloss for “Thanksgiving” does acknowledge similar celebrations in other parts of the world, and the inclusion of Eid al-Fitr, Kwanzaa, and Diwali alongside Christmas and Hanukkah in the roster likewise signal a generally multicultural outlook. Cameos from stars like Pino (Big Bird’s blue Dutch cousin), Lily the Chinese tiger cat, and hijab-clad Zari expand the already-diverse Sesame Street cast. Younger audiences may be less drawn in by the topic than the challenge of naming all the puppets that put in appearances here (there’s no key), but the festive tone is at least appropriate for the season.

Points for offering a broad picture even if the presentation is nothing to write home about. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-4024-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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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Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.

GOLDIE'S GUIDE TO GRANDCHILDING

While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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