Rudolph and his contribution to the Santa saga seem firmly entrenched in American Christmas tradition, and this fresh look...


The original 1939 story about a reindeer with a noteworthy nose serves as the text of this lavishly illustrated, oversize interpretation of Rudolph’s place in Christmas lore.

The cover illustration draws readers in to the story with an evocative view of Rudolph and the reindeer team pulling Santa and his sleigh through an azure sky. The paper used for the cover has a mottled, opalescent shine which, along with hazy swirls and shimmering bubbles, suggests the magical nature of flying reindeer and Santa himself. This use of glowing illumination to set a mysterious tone is repeated when Rudolph peeks into Santa’s toy sack during the Christmas Eve toy delivery, with radiant light emanating from the reindeer’s rosy nose, as it does on nearly every page. The 75-year-old rhyming story is a little too long and a little too singsong, with some of the phraseology a trifle dated for today’s children and some of the rhyming word pairs struggling to fit the meter. However, there is no other full-sized version of this original story of Rudolph with contemporary illustrations currently in print; most picture-book versions are based on the alternate television version of Rudolph’s story. (A new edition of this interpretation, retold by Thea Feldman, also publishes in 2014.)

Rudolph and his contribution to the Santa saga seem firmly entrenched in American Christmas tradition, and this fresh look at the reindeer that triumphs over rejection and a seeming disability may be a new holiday classic. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7495-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.


A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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