THE THANKSGIVING VISITOR

Were it not that the gently luminous features of the brilliant actress Geraldine Page, who appeared in Capote's Christmas Memory on TV last year, haunt this latest fictional memoir like a benign ghost, one might balk at the author's slide into commercial sentimentality. Again the boy and his childlike, middle-aged friend, "Miss Sook" here, prepare for a holiday. But instead of the exquisite ordinaries of a shared world, this time a contrived situation blocks out rather than illuminates the friendship and the character of Miss Sook. That vague and loving lady in her innocence and inexperience sets herself toward pumping charity into the boy, Buddy, as he suffers under the torments of a twelve-year-old bully, Odd Henderson. Odd is a poverty stricken hellion with a pride to match his meanness. Invited defiantly by Miss Sook to the clan's Thanksgiving, Odd is a social success, but Buddy has triumphantly observed him stealing Miss Sook's cameo, a talisman charged with private meanings. Buddy accuses Odd publicly and the remainder is slick as goose grease — Miss Sook ignores the theft; the good angel of Odd's nature is touched; Buddy is wooed back from his devastation at Miss Sook's defection by homilies and turkey. Alas, Miss Sook has taken to lecturing, but come Fall TV, assuredly Miss Page will bring her back to life. If you tune out on this one — tune in for the TV version. This brief tale will appear in McCalls.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1968

ISBN: 0679838988

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1968

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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