A treat for fans of the Little Elliot series.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, LITTLE ELLIOT

From the Little Elliot series

Little Elliot, the white, polka-dot elephant, visits Santa at a New York department store with his friend Mouse.

He is looking for the Christmas spirit, but Santa tells him he’ll have to find that himself. Elliot and Mouse search at the ballet, Rockefeller Center, and while sledding—having fun but not finding the Christmas spirit. The story of the two friends is prefaced by wordless illustrations on the front endpapers and title page in which a little girl, bundled against the cold, tries to post a letter only to have it ripped out of her hands by the wind. The two stories come together when the red envelope addressed to Santa lands on Elliot’s forehead. He and Mouse read the letter, grab a cab, and arrive at a house with a red door, where Noelle, the girl who wrote the letter, invites them in, thus fulfilling both her and Elliot’s Christmas wishes. Not-a-word-out-of-place storytelling is enhanced by soft-focus illustrations done in pencil and colored digitally, which perfectly capture the characters’ expressions. The city setting seems to be post–World War II, with an old-fashioned look that could easily appeal to grandparents looking for a heartwarming holiday book to share. Young children will have fun trying to spot little Mouse throughout. Curato populates the pages with an eye to diversity, including people of color and a child who uses a wheelchair; Noelle appears to be Asian.

A treat for fans of the Little Elliot series. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-18589-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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