Fry up a batch and relish every morsel.

THE THREE LATKES

Three potato pancakes each boast that he is the tastiest—to a hungry cat.

The table is set for the first night of Hanukkah as three stylish latkes engage in a bragfest. Made in turn from red potato, yellow potato, and gold potato, each claims first place in deliciousness. Red Latke states that vegetable oil gives him a “beautiful color.” Yellow Latke proclaims that frying in schmaltz gives the best taste. Gold Latke smugly asserts that “peanut oil is the healthiest.” Who will settle this dispute? A very observant cat will, and she is no fickle culinary feline. Adding applesauce to Red Latke, she gobbles him up. Dipping Yellow Latke in sour cream makes him a tasty treat. A “smear” of strawberry jam helps the cat devour Gold Latke. And her verdict? Readers will have to follow the appended recipe and come to their own tasty conclusions. With the concatenation of threes, Kimmel follows a traditional European storytelling pattern in this entertaining holiday tale for young readers. Parker-Thomas gives each latke his own unique identity in addition to the type of potato and frying medium. Red Latke sports a baseball cap, Yellow Latke a fedora and bow tie, and the healthy Gold Latke a sweatband and gold medal. Shredded and fried, they look a lot like fuzzballs with eyes, mouths, and pipestem limbs. The cat is suitably expressive.

Fry up a batch and relish every morsel. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-54158-891-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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