A nice introduction to the origins of a cherished tradition for many

THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S GIFT TO ENGLAND

A German-born princess uses her memories of home to create an English Christmas tradition.

Born into royalty in Mecklenburg, Germany, in 1744, Princess Charlotte prefers being outdoors to going to balls. She loves trees, and at Christmas, she always brings a yew branch indoors to decorate. A marriage proposal from King George III of England means leaving her home at the age of 17. Lonely and not speaking a word of English, she relies on the precious things she brought along, including a yew branch. “With this, she could make magic in her new home.” In 1800, having borne 15 children of her own, she holds a Christmas party for 100 children to ring in the new century, decking the halls with a large tree from the palace grounds. Simple prose and light watercolors keep this retelling of historical events within the understanding of children who like a good princess story. The book’s creators don’t shy away from including some children of color among white ones—this was, after all, during the time of slavery—but the text leaves some doubt about how, exactly, they fit into the group of “children at court.” An afterword provides context to the queen’s life and times, including the information that she was an abolitionist.

A nice introduction to the origins of a cherished tradition for many . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6636-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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