TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Eye-popping colors in neon brights and jewel tones serve as the backgrounds for these creative collage illustrations by Griffin (The Fabrics of Fairy Tale, not reviewed), who adds contemporary flair to the old Christmas song. For her fabric-art illustrations, Griffin used beads, buttons, sequins, shells, mirrors, faux jewels, and a wide variety of fabrics and trimmings combined with embroidery details to create her images for each day of gift-giving. Some of the concepts are traditional, such as the single partridge in a pear tree; others are more unusual, like Griffin’s idea of five golden rings—bracelets around an elephant’s legs and trunk. This celebration circles the globe: her drummers are African with African fabrics worked into the design; her pipers are Middle Eastern snake charmers playing traditional instruments; and the maids a-milking and ladies dancing include women of color. A large decorated numeral begins each double-page spread on the left side, and the words describing each cumulative gift addition are added in a different typeface for even more visual interest. Children will like the dynamic colors, varied design elements, and tiny details; adult quilters and needle crafters will be drawn to Griffin’s undeniable artistic flair. A CD of the Christmas song is included. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-84148-940-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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Kids will find the premise comical, but as far as a rewarding Christmas story is concerned, a dog-bites-Santa joke “is just...

PIG THE ELF

From the Pig the Pug series

In this rhyming story, the latest in a series from Australia, Pig the pug celebrates Christmas in his characteristically greedy fashion.

Pig’s best pal, Trevor the dachshund, asks Santa for “something nice” in a neatly printed letter shown on the front endpapers. But Pig has a Christmas list a mile long, ranging from a motorcycle to longer legs, reproduced in blocky print on the back endpapers. Wearing a red Santa suit, Pig stays up waiting for Santa’s arrival. When Santa leaves only a few presents, Pig yells at him rudely and tries to detain him by biting “poor old Santa’s big, rosy behind!” Pig doesn’t let go, and he is dragged along as Santa returns to his sleigh, with Pig complaining that his pile of presents “is just not enough.” (Sharp-eyed children may wonder how Pig talks when his teeth are clenched on Santa’s rear end.) The greedy pug finally falls from the flying sleigh, and in “a real Christmas miracle,” he is saved by landing on an angel at the top of an outdoor Christmas tree. The visual humor of the dog clamped onto Santa’s seat is funny (if a dog biting someone can be funny), but Pig’s greedy, ill-mannered comments to Santa are not. Mixed-media illustrations emphasize Pig’s bulging eyes, which are echoed in the similarly buggy eyes of Santa (who is white), his reindeer, and even Trevor the dachshund.  

Kids will find the premise comical, but as far as a rewarding Christmas story is concerned, a dog-bites-Santa joke “is just not enough.” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-22122-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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