Those who appreciated Caparo’s illustrations in the original edition will also like this sequel and will probably overlook...

RUDOLPH SHINES AGAIN

In this sequel to the original story about the famous reindeer with a glowing red nose, Rudolph loses his special power and then gains it back after helping find two lost bunnies.

In the month before Christmas, Rudolph suffers a crisis of confidence and loses the red glow that has made him the leader of Santa’s reindeer team. He worries and whines, concentrating on his loss, finally deciding to run away and find a new home in a different country. Deep in a forest at night, he finds a group of distressed rabbits who have lost two of their babies. Rudolph helps them, finding bunnies Donnie and Doris, and in focusing on the troubles of others, he regains his confidence as well as the glow on his nose. He flies home in time for Christmas Eve deliveries, including a special package dropped from Santa’s sleigh for his new rabbit friends. Caparo’s handsome illustrations in an oversize format are in the same style as his work in the recent edition of the original story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (2014). The color palette focuses on deep midnight blues with swirls of pink sparkles around Santa and the reindeer symbolizing their magical powers. The long, rhyming text, however, is dated in tone and has a grating, singsong quality and some rhymes that fall flat. It’s unfortunate that the text is not of the same quality as the illustrations, design, and high-quality paper.

Those who appreciated Caparo’s illustrations in the original edition will also like this sequel and will probably overlook the unsuccessful story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7499-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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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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