BooksForKidsBlog

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Home for Christmas: A Christmas Wish for Corduroy by B. G. Hennessey

One December afternoon, a toy bear in a big store was just waking up.

The little brown bear opens his eyes to see a mother and little boy standing in front of the toy shelf. with the mother asking an important question:

"Have you decided what you want for Christmas yet?"

After some thought, the boy says he's going to ask Santa Claus for fire engine, and the lonely little brown bear watches sadly as the boy goes away to see Santa.

"Maybe I should visit Santa," the bear thought. "I could ask if he knows a boy or girl who wants a bear."

The bear overhears a mother telling her daughter that they must shop for a special dress for her to wear on her visit to Santa, and he realizes that he must have something special to wear, too. When the store closes, he begins to look for an outfit, trying on a ladies' hat and some boots, both too big for a small bear. The only children's clothes that fit him are silly baby dresses. Then the little bear spots a sign saying "SANTA'S WORKSHOP" and inside he sees something that will fit him perfectly--green elf overalls! It's quite a struggle, but the little bear finally tugs on the green outfit, pulling one button loose. Now he's ready to see Santa.

He spies a very big chair and guessing that must be for Santa, he climbs up to wait, but soon grows drowsy. He is wakened by a deep, jolly voice.

"Good morning, Little Fellow," said Santa. "A good-looking bear like you should be with the toys."

Santa tells Mrs. Claus that the bear's name must Corduroy, like his overalls, and dispatches her to deliver him back to the toy section, where a girl and her mother are looking at the dolls.

"Look!" the girl said. "There's the bear I always wanted!"

And a bear named Corduroy goes home for Christmas, in B. G. Hennessy's A Christmas Wish for Corduroy (Viking, 2014), a holiday prequel for Don Freeman's classic story, Corduroy, which explains how a pair of elfin green corduroy overalls helps a very plain little bear find someone to take him home for Christmas. Artist Jody Wheeler's skillful scratchboard illustrations are picture perfect interpretations of Freeman's originals, right down to that trademark loose button, giving modern kids a chance to take Corduroy home for Christmas, too.

"A story that can stand next to the original two Corduroy tales without apology. A pleasurable and satisfying back story for the beloved bear named Corduroy," says Kirkus Reviews.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Peter's Present: A Christmas Wish (A Peter Rabbit Tale) created by Beatrix Potter

It was Christmas Eve. Inside a cozy, warm burrow, four little bunnies were getting ready for Christmas Day.

Flopsy wishes for a toy; Mopsy wants a tea set. Cottontail hopes for a train. But Peter just murmurs that he wants the best thing in the world.
Mama Rabbit moves them along through their baths toward bedtime, with a quiet word to the wise.

"Santa Claus comes only when every bunny is fast asleep,"she tells her brood.

But Peter can't sleep. Every little sound seems to be Santa--until he realizes he's only hearing normal night noises. He frets that if Santa doesn't come, it will be his fault for being still awake.

But somehow Santa Claus always finds the right time to come, and the first thing Peter sees in the morning are the bunnies' presents waiting under the twinkling tree, in A Christmas Wish: A Peter Rabbit Tale (Frederick Warne, 2017).

All the tingly anticipation of Christmas Eve night is here in this small board book with pictures drawn from Beatrix Potter's original Tales of Peter Rabbit, with just a tiny glimpse of Santa's boots beside the tree for young readers to discover. Whether the child is one of those who wants to wait up to spy on Santa, or one who worries that being awake will make St. Nick will pass him by, this is a good read for real Christmas Eve awaiters.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Snow Job! Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick

BRRRR! The night air is cold and wet.

The city plows stand staunchly in a row, ready to fight the snow.

And in that doughty cadre is the smallest of all, Little Walt, new to the fleet and yet to prove his mettle against the snowfalls of winter. But he's ready to go, and when Gus, his driver, goes through the fitness checklist, he finds Little Walt's plugs are sparking with the best of them and his salt loader is filled to the brim.

The other drivers spurn Little Walt as too puny for the expected big storm, so Gus offers to take the little guy out for his trial run.

"Try to keep up, Small Stuff," Hank honks from the controls of the biggest plow.

"Grrrr!" Walt's engine growls.

Gus steers Walt into all the tight places where the big boys cannot go. The bridge is icy and the ramps are dicey, but Walt proves his mettle as he clears and salts.

Scraaaaatch, scraaaaape!

Little Walt scatters the salt, and as the job turns into an all-nighter, he soldiers on through slush and muck!

"Don't get stuck!" Gus warns.

And then they come to The Hill. Gus opines that the drifts are the biggest he's ever seen. Can Little Walt plow all the way up that high, high hill, and even if he does ...

... there's that downside of the big hill. To Little Walt it looks like an Olympic ski jump. Even Gus considers calling a halt. Should they stop at the top? Should a plow and salter ever falter?

But Walt stays to steer the course and pass his trial by ice, in Elizabeth Verdick's Small Walt (Simon and Schuster, 2017), and he wins his own blue ribbon (Gus's blue scarf) on their triumphant return and secures an honored place in the fleet. Author Verdick makes good use of occasional rhyme, alliterative language, and plenty of funny onomatopoetic engine sounds to lend tension and drama to her narrative, and artist Marc Rosenthal generates plenty of identification for young readers with his anthropomorphic machines, especially Walt, the little guy who goes up against the big boys and holds his own with gumption and grit. Rosenthal's cozy, colored-pencil illustrations have the charming retro revival look of books in the style of Watty Piper's The Little Engine That Could (Original Classic Edition) and recent books such as Rinker's Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Dewdney's Little Excavator.

Although the basic tale of the little big machine that could is a a well-plowed story premise, Verdick and Rosenthal show that there's still a place for the youngster to prove that he or she can do big things. Determined and lovable, Little Walt shares literary parking space with Hardy Gramatsky's Little Toot and Virginia Lee Burton's Katy the snow plow and Mike Mulligan's steam shovel, and, oh yes, Watty Piper's little steam engine that could, too, in a new read-aloud for the snowy season. And like that classic steam shovel with lots of heart, here, too, there's that heart-warming loyalty between man and machine that manages to move and melt even the snow and ice of winter.

There's always room for one more little storybook hero who perseveres, and Booklist says, ... "libraries should make room for this one, too. It's really the story of a little guy who gets a tough job done, and little children will root for him all the way."

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Monday, December 11, 2017

There's A Mouse In The House! Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

'Twas the days before Christmas and all through the house,

A tree is being decked, and it's done by a mouse!

With apologies to Clement Clark Moore, there IS one mouse who is stirring, and he's on the job decorating the Christmas tree.

But that's not his only job! Mouse is teaching counting, from one up to ten!

Mouse is a top-down decorator, so the first thing that goes up on the tippy-top of the tree is the star. Then there are two mice angels, a trio of lacy snowflakes, four running reindeer (where did Comet, Cupid, and the rest fly to?), and five snow fellows. Then Mouse reaches for six toy soldiers, and seven toy robots, followed by the traditional elfin helpers, nine mittens (That's 4 1/2 pairs. Did one little kitten lose her mitten?). And then Mouse adds ten more.. silver bells? gingerbread men? lords a-leaping?

What ARE the final ten ornaments Mouse adds in Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond's fat little board book for the youngest tree-trimmer? In their classic Christmas counting book,Merry Christmas, Mouse! (If You Give...) (Harper Festival, 2017, 2007), there are a few surprises to add to the fun for the youngest among us for holiday learning and fun that may inspire some counting practice on your own Yuletide tree or may make its appearance as a surprise stocking stuffer.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Once Upon A Christmas Eve.... The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen

It was Christmas Eve and Ollie had just gone to sleep when

....JINGLE! JINGLE! JINGLE!

She awoke with a start.

Like all startled sleepers on Christmas Eve, Ollie runs to her window to see the source of that sound, but all she sees is a blanket of white covering everything. She runs outside, still in her reindeer pajamas and knitted hat with horns, to catch a fluttering flake, when she hears that magical tinkle again. She follows the notes into the wood, where she spots something red.

Hanging from a branch was a collar with silver bells!

Who could it belong to?

Of course, the collar belongs to a reindeer, who kneels obediently before little Ollie and lets her fasten the collar. And then, Ollie climbs on her back for a magical midnight ride through gold and silver stars, the snow-covered landscape flowing beneath her. At last, her new friend deposits her back home, where yawning, she sleepily makes her way up to her bed to continue dreaming of her fantastical jingling journey until morning comes. But her Christmas adventure remains the best present.

"See you next year," she whispers.

It's indeed a magical mystery tour, in Nicola Killen's The Little Reindeer (Simon and Schuster, 2017). In a softly-told Christmas Eve story, author Killen foreshadows the reindeer ride in Ollie's little onesie pajamas and her bedtime toy reindeer, echoed in artist Killen's lovely muted grayscale illustrations, accented only with touches of red--in Ollie's cheeks, in the windows of the sleeping houses, and in the reindeer collar, and in the silver and gold of sleighbells repeated in the starry night sky. This is a gentle Christmas bedtime story with promises of sweet dreams for a long winter's nap. "Die cuts, foil accents, and bits of red detailing bring flair to Killen’s hushed black-and-white snowscapes," says Publisher's Weekly.

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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Homing! Goat With Many Coats (A True Story) by Leanne Lauricella

It was a December night, cold and bright, when Prospect was born.

The trees rustled and the stars shone through the falling snow.

As tiny as a tea-cup, Prospect's prospects don't look so good. He seems to be an orphan goat, struggling alone to stand on his long, thin legs.

His family was nowhere to be seen.

But Prospect is lucky to have someone who soon adopts him. A woman comes and takes him away, asleep on her lap, as she drives the little kid to his new foster home. Because he is so little and young, his baby fuzz is not enough to keep him warm, so she gives him a special gift, a goat coat in bright colors, to keep him warm while he grows his own warm fur. And as he grows, he sports several new coats!

Soon Prospect had a coat for every occasion. He even had a cape that made him feel like a Super Goat!

But little goats grow up, and as warm weather comes, he outgrows his coats and his own furry coat start getting silky and thick. At first he feels strangely exposed without his clothes, but the other goats give him a rousing M-A-A-A of approval.

There are many stories of dog rescues and cat rescues out there, but GOA Kids - Goats of Anarchy: The Goat with Many Coats: A true story of a little goat who found a loving and caring new home (Walter Foster Books, 2017) is indeed a true story of a rescue goat, lovingly raised by author Leanne Lauricella, animal advocate and blogger, and now author. The illustrations by Jill Howarth are warm and humorous, and author Lauricella appends appealing color photos of little Prospect growing up in his many goat coats and hoodie.

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Friday, December 08, 2017

Snowbears! Bears in the Snow by Shirley Parenteau

HERE'S A BRIGHT RED SLED

ON A SNOWY DAY.

What's it waiting for?

What's a sled for if not for four fuzzy little bears to park their keisters on and make a downhill run!

But their first attempt is a fourfold flop!

Four plump bear-y bottoms don't quite fit. On the way down, one by one, the bear whose rear is... well, in the rear slips off and plops into the snow. Yellow is the first to go, then Floppy. Finally Fuzzy slips off, and Calico hits the snow. Only the sled arrives at the foot of the hill.

They try going down in bear pairs, but that means that two of them are always cooling their heels in the snow. It seems that there's no way they can all go together. That is, until Big Brown Bear comes outside to see what is going on. Right away he knows how they all can go in the snow.

AND SUDDENLY, PLOP!

BIG BROWN BEAR DOES A BELLY FLOP!

Four little bears get the idea immediately and they all--hop on pop!

On Big Brown Bear's wide and furry back they all slide down the big hill together, laughing all the way, sliding to their hearts' content, until someone catches a whiff of something....

IS THAT HOT CHOCOLATE?

Of course it is, in Shirley Parenteau's latest in her Bears in Chairs series, Bears in the Snow (Bears on Chairs) (Candlewick Press, 2017), in a wintry mix of a snow story just right for young snow goers, a bear tale that will have preschoolers on snow watch so that their fun can begin. Parenteau's rhymes charm, and David Walker's merry, pastel and plushy toy-like little bears are as cute as can be. Walker's illustrations set his softly-rounded little subjects off to good advantage in centered, oval spot-art style as Parenteau's story builds suspense, and then dramatically switches to full-bleed, two-page spread when there's plenty of action on the pages. A winter treat for the eyes and ears to entice toddlers and preschoolers to hit the slopes, or at least dream of snowy days ahead.

Other terrific tales for tots by Parmenteau and Walker are Bears in Beds, Bears and a Birthday (Bears on Chairs), Bears in a Band (Bears on Chairs) and Bears in the Bath (Bears on Chairs), as well as the lead-off title itself, Bears on Chairs. (reviews here)

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

What Could Happen? Don't Push the Button! Christmas Adventure by Bill Cotter

LIKE WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO WITH A BUTTON?

Larry, the purple guy with little blue horns and the big portable red button is back, about to take a trip down YOUR chimney! Beware!

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You know Larry's rule...

DON'T PUSH THE BUTTON!

S. Claus wouldn't add you to his naughty list just for pushing that pretty red button, would he? Maybe just one entsy weentsy little push while the elf on the shelf isn't looking....?

OOPS! Now I'm...

GREEN--LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE!

Maybe another little push will reverse the effect?

But no. Now Larry's a tree all decorated with lights. Can we reverse the magic with two pushes?

Guess again, Candy Kane! At least red and white look good on him. Larry suggests shaking the book--resulting in a snow storm.

Where's Rudolph when we need him? Try pressing the button super hard, this time, Larry suggests.

Bingo!

There only one thing left to do to get this Christmas show on the road, and Santa Claus appears with one big request that's going to require that all the readers get on board with Larry's plan. He needs everyone to help St. Nick crank his sleigh. All it takes is, on the count of three, one big ...PUSH!

In Bill Cotter's latest Larry tale, Don't Push the Button! A Christmas Adventure (Sourcebooks, 2017), the red button provides the Christmas magic in this new interactive book which encourages youngsters to enable all the beloved Christmas things--from bright Christmas trees to candy canes, Santa's sleigh to Rudolph--to appear. A companion book to Cotter's hit book, Don't Push the Button! this new one is another interactive board book that plays with the icons of the season and the concept of the book as toy. This one works as both a story circle read-aloud and as a great stocking stuffer for a toddler or preschooler.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Details! Details! Only You Can Save Christmas! A Help-the-Elf Adventure by Adam Wallace

My name is Wink, Wink Silverbells.

It's my job to make sure Christmas Eve goes according to plan.

It's all gone well so far. Santa's loaded sleigh has just taken off with all eight reindeer feeling their oats and Rudolph's nose with a full charge. It's time for Santa's point man Wink to put up his feet in the now quiet workshop.

But what's that rolled-up piece of paper with a jaunty red bow? Did Santa mean to take it along? Wink has to know.

He reads the title and the first line about 12 Days of Christmas.

Oh, No! This must be a list of things Santa wants to give Mrs. Claus!

Wink looks at the first item: A partridge in a pear tree?

What the Elf?

There are no pear trees at the North Pole. And if there ever was a partridge, he's flown the coop and gone south by now! Wink needs some Christmas helpers--NOW! He turns to his readers to pitch in!

I need YOU!

Some substitutions are in order. Maybe you can round up some bird willing to perch in a fir tree?

Good. Now for a duo of turtle doves. No turtle doves? So how 'bout two turtles?

Okay! What's next? French hens? Parlez vous? Go outside and say "Oui!" over and over.

Now. What's next? Four calling birds? What does Santa think this place is--a poultry farm?

I found the four calling birds.

Actually they text more than they call, but... close enough!

You can see where this one is going, in Adam Wallace's Only YOU Can Save Christmas!: A Help-the-Elf Adventure (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2017), a comic interactive holiday tale in which readers are called up to whistle, honk, yodel, and even wiggle their butts a couple of times (his term, not mine!) to get all the stuff together to surprise Mrs. Claus. And she's going to be surprised all right, what with the dancing ladies and leaping lords, five doughnut rings, and a menagerie waiting for her, not to mention the elves taking selfies. She won't even notice the boring gift--a vacuum cleaner--that Santa brought for her--but she's going to need it after the rest of her gifts get done dancing and partying--and whatever all those birds do.

Author Adam Wallace himself has been busy pre-Christmas, having given youngsters two new elf stories with which to make merry, counting his other just published picture book hit, How to Catch an Elf.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Noshing with the Nuts! Merry Christmas, Peanut! by Terry Border

It was Christmas Day, and Peanut and his parents were on their way to his grandmother's house for dinner.

Little Peanut is just nutty about Christmas, and visiting Groundnutter, er, Grandmother, just makes it butter, er, better!

But the ride is s-o-o-o long, especially when the family gets stuck in a holiday traffic jam, or is that a traffic jelly? And who is that beside the road looking un-done? It's his friend the Baker, moaning.

"Now I can't make my famous jelly doughnuts!"

"I'm the Merry Christmas Nut," said Peanut. "Come with us."

All's well until the Peanuts are ready to go over the river and through the woods, when they see that the bridge is out. Luckily, Sailor's boat is there to float them across, but he's no merry ferry man because he's all alone on Christmas, so the Merry Christmas Peanut invites him to join his party.

But just into the woods Lumberjack's sad face stops them again. His ax is broken and now he can't cut Christmas trees for everyone, but Peanut's invitation to join them makes him smile. The Peanut family and guests resume their journey until they run into a sudden snowfall. Father didn't pack his shovel, so Baker offers his spatula to clear the road, Lumber Jack lights his lantern, and the journey continues through the snow on the way to Grandmother's Christmas feast.

And it's hurray for the jelly doughnuts and even a snowy sleepover in store, in Terry Border's latest nutty tale, Merry Christmas, Peanut! (Philomel Books, 2017). It's another of author Border's little-legume-who-could stories, with artist Border milking the visual puns--the woods are filled with Christmas tree cookies with sprinkles--for all they are worth in his third book in his popular Peanut series. Border cleverly mixes real objects--peanuts, cookie trees, tinsel, and toys-- with his soft and wintry backgrounds in an eye-candy kind of illustrations which will please fans of his earlier Peanut Butter and Cupcake and its many spin-off board books, with just the right accompaniment, his hit go-with, Milk Goes to School. (see reviews here.) For a light and tasty Christmas treat, this one is both sweet and savory!

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Monday, December 04, 2017

Gettin' There Any Old Way! The Twelve Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Two weeks before Christmas, and every elf,
Is building, rushing, racing, busy--
Every elf in a tizzy!

It's a full-court press on the production line at Santa's Workshop. It's not a good time for a sleigh malfunction!

The sleigh is totaled, smashed, and battered!
The elves are rocked! They're shocked! It's shattering!

Santa's old sleigh does have a lot of miles on it, and the elves suddenly conceive the idea of total redesign. It's their one chance to pimp Santa's ride! Who knew Santa's elves were such a bunch of gearheads?

They form twelve teams, each working on their concept of a hi-tech twenty-first century Santa sleigh, and they work furiously, all through the long dark days of the polar pre-Christmas week. It's the Great Sleigh Build Off. And then--it's SHOW TIME!

Build Team One unveils a hyper-powered dragster which gets off the mark in a nano-second. But then one elf asks if the kids of the world could possibly sleep through the roar of this mighty machine!

Build Team Two rolls out their big-rig, a semi that even boasts a sleeper cab in case Santa needs a nap. But another elf wonders out loud if there's a roof anywhere in the world than can support that 18-wheeler. Build Team Three has the answer, a multi-sail rebuild of a airborne pirate ship which hovers over children's houses and jettisons their gifts overboard. The other elves roll their eyes. Seriously? What about breakage?

The concept models get more and more overbuilt, and the elves sheepishly realize that they've let their fantasy rides get way over the top. And Santa's big trip is almost at hand!

But one young elf has secretly been working on Plan B all along, in Sherri Duskey Rinker's new hit, The 12 Sleighs of Christmas (Chronicle Books, 2017). Staying with the transportation theme that she rolled out her first best-seller, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Rinker's latest is set for take off as the hit of the season. With jolly rhymes, roaring motors, and clever cartooning by artist Jake Parker, this is a funny and festive story of how, once more, St. Nick keeps his promise to come on Christmas Eve. Says School Library Journal, "The colorful illustrations, created in brush pen and rendered digitally, are a perfect fit for sleigh creations reminiscent of Dr. Seuss' imaginative vehicles. A splendid choice for any holiday read-aloud collection wishing to incorporate STEM concepts." Santa and STEM? What more could we want in a comic Christmas eve bedtime story?

Sherri Duskey Rinker is, of course, the high-powered author of those other motorhead-motivated best sellers, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, Steam Train, Dream Train and her recent Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton.

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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Greed is NOT Good! Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey

Dear Santa,
May I please have something nice for Christmas?
--From Trevor
P.S. I love you so much!

Trevor, the humble little dachshund, has penned a modest little letter to Santa. But that other dog in the household is something else again!

Pig the Pug's Christmas list is a bit more... shall we say, extensive?

He'd written his list.
And he'd asked for a lot,
But Santa takes orders,
So why the heck not?

Pig is a pug who only wants one thing--MORE!

Pig's list is long--yards and yards long--with wishes for everything from a unicorn (real, not fake) to longer legs. And when Trevor dutifully points out that Santa won't come until they are abed, Pig is having none of his silly Christmas Eve rules.

"Sleep is for fools!
Sleep is for losers!
I won't go to bed
With the rest of you snoozers!

Pig the Pug stands guard by the twinkling tree, vowing to see that he gets his due. But the wait is tedious and Pig nods off a bit, waking to find a portly old guy depositing gifts in two equal piles, one labeled "Trevor" and one labeled "Pig." Pig the Pug in indignant!

"I asked for MORE!" shouted Pug,
Sounding very unkind.
Then he nipped poor old Santa's
Big rosy behind!

Santa tries to make his escape up the chimney, but Pig is pugnacious, his jaws clamped on Santa's derriere all the way to the rooftop sleigh. Santa orders his reindeer into the air, and they leap upward with Pig still dangling from the, er, rear.

Pig's selfish greed has indeed gotten him once more into a regrettable situation, in Aaron Blabey's Christmas cautionary tale, Pig the Elf (Pig the Pug) (Scholastic Press, 2017). Will Pig cool his ardor for acquisitiveness in the cold polar air, or will he meet his long overdue downfall this time? Author Blabey has just the right ending in store for his greedy pug pup, and kids will giggle with glee at the irony of Pig's comeuppance, (although secretly they may hope that Pig the Pug won't totally reform before the next book is written). Blabey's jolly quatrains rhyme their way merrily through this little morality tale, while his illustrations are just as over-the-top hilarious as ever, with both front and back endpapers fittingly filled with Pig's avaricious wish list.

Other popular picture books about Pig are Pig the Pug, Pig the Winner (Pig the Pug), and Pig the Fibber.

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Saturday, December 02, 2017

'S No Way! Bad Kitty Does NOT Like Snow by Nick Bruel

KITTY DOES NOT KNOW

WHAT SNOW IS.

Like all the other savvy cats do, Kitty repairs to her laptop and her favorite search engine--FOOGLE.

What is snow? FOOGLE's display says it's wet, cold, slippery, and soft.

SOFT is good.

Bad Kitty gets all her winter gear on--scarf and knit cap--and ventures out to test FOOGLE's accuracy.

It's cold, all right. It's wet, check. MEH!

Bad Kitty steps out onto the sidewalk.

Whoops! Kitty's keister confirms the bad news. Snow = Slippery.

But--it is soft! It's so soft that Bad Kitty sinks over her head in the snow bank.

ME-OWWW!

It's Phooo-ey on FOOGLE and a big, fat NO to the snow, in Nick Bruel's fast and funny Bad Kitty Does Not Like Snow: Includes Stickers (Roaring Brook Press), as Bad Kitty decides there's no way she's going out again until the snow is gone. Nick Bruel's cartooning is spot on in this one, as our last view of Bad Kitty shows her thawing out in her basket beneath four quilts, wearing her version of a winter hat--a hot water bottle. Bad Kitty is in fine fettle in her own snow story--AND... there are pages of stickers inside.

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Friday, December 01, 2017

Meowrr, Humbug! Grumpy Cat's First Worst Christmas by Christy Webster

"It's time for Christmas, Grumpy Cat! 'Tis the season to be jolly!" Happy Kitty says.

"'Tis the season to let me alone!" growls Grumpy Cat.

"Look! It's SNOWING!" Happy Kitty continues.

Perched on the mantle, where big, bright wooden letters spell out a cheery NOEL, his droopy eyelids at half mast, Grumpy Cat responds by pushing the E and L to the floor to spell out his disapproval.

NO!

But Happy Kitty bundles up and bounces outside to build a smiling snow cat. Grumpy Cat's snow sculpture has twiggy, beetling eyebrows and a familiar frown. But Happy Kitty is living in a wonderland of snow.

"I'd rather live in a Wonderland of NO!" grouches Grumpy Cat.

Then it's time to decorate the Christmas tree. Happy Kitty is in his element, but Grumpy Cat decorates his own little cactus and stealthily pushes Kitty's ornaments off onto the floor. While Happy Kitty suggests that it's time to wrap some presents, Grouchy Cat declares it's time to rip some presents. And when Christmas carolers come with their jolly FA LA LAS, Grumpy Cat has but one request:

"Silent Night!"

Happy Kitty gets into putting out cookies for Santa Claus, going on and on about what he might get for Christmas.

"All I want for Christmas is for it to be over," mutters Grouchy Cat.

While most of us are more than ready to make merry, Christmas grouches are not unknown in literature, and Grumpy Cat is in the company of some great ones--e. g., Dicken's Ebenezer Scrooge and Dr. Seuss's Grinch--and Christy Webster's frowning feline is firmly in that curmudgeonly tradition in her Grumpy Cat's First Worst Christmas (Grumpy Cat) (Big Golden Book) (Golden Books, 2017). Christmas deniers are usually a drag, but Webster's cantankerous cat's quips are actually quite clever, and in this story of an odd couple of cats, illustrator Steph Laboris sneakily adds sight gags of Grumpy Cat in the background, slyly shoving things off horizontal surfaces and generally putting the kabosh on Christmas cheer.

Based on those viral photos of a real cat, Grumpy has become the new comic strip character, joining the galaxy of quirky cartoon cat stars like Felix the Cat, Krazy Kat, Sylvester, and Garfield. Grumpy Cat's other stories include The Little Grumpy Cat that Wouldn't (Grumpy Cat) (Little Golden Book) and A Is for Awful: A Grumpy Cat ABC Book (Grumpy Cat) (Little Golden Book).

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