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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Some Fun Christmas Picture Books!


ABOUT THE BOOK

In the middle of a deep, dark forest, all the creatures are fast asleep. Except for a little gray wolf who cant sleep a wink. But the little wolf knows just what he needs to get a good nights sleep: a teddy bear to cuddle, just like in his favorite story book. So the next morning little wolf sets off on an adventure to find a teddy bear. But exactly where do teddy bears come from? The little wolf asks the Wise Owl, but he doesn't know. He asks the Three Little Pigs, but they suggest he speak to Little Red Riding Hood. Finally, when he is very tired the little wolf stumbles upon a kindly man with a bright red suit and a long white beard who needs a helping hand. But good deeds never go unrewarded. So when the little wolf wakes up the next morning there is a soft, cuddly surprise at the foot of his bed...and the answer to his question.

REVIEW

Where Teddy Bears Come From is a delightfully quirky take on several fairy tales but also Santa Claus. The illustrations and text fonts remind me distinctly of Lauren Child's style, but take on a life of their own.  The little wolf is quite adorable as he persistently searches for the answer to his question.  A fun book to read aloud as the differently sized text prompts the reader into reading with expression and verve. The twists to the fairy tales of the Three Little Pigs (who aren't so little and are female), and Little Red Riding Hood (who is really quite cranky) add a nice humorous touch to the story.  It's also fun to wait and see if the reader can figure out that the old guy with the truck that the little wolf stops to help is Santa Claus. Recommended.


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ABOUT THE BOOK

What does Santa do with his hard-earned vacation time? The same stuff you would do to relax and have fun?and a whole lot more! In this uproarious tale by popular author and Simpsons writer Mike Reiss, Santa recovers from a hectic December by embarking on an hilarious campaign of adventure and self-improvement?from sumo wrestling, to international espionage, to continuing education (including Elf Esteem and Basic Reindeer Labor Laws). But no matter where he goes or what he does, he's still our beloved Santa Claus, as Michael Montgomery's comically classic illustrations reveal. So, thanks, Santa, for all your hard work. Go ahead and take the year off!

REVIEW

The concept behind this book is a really cute one.  I can see children being really curious about what Santa does when he isn't delivering presents. However, I didn't find the poems quite up to snuff. Each poem addresses one of the eleven months outside of December and what Santa is doing during that time. But the poems don't seem to quite connect to each other.  Despite that, the book is quite amusing as Santa spends time as a spy, a sumo-wrestler, sports fan, and beach bum. The illustrations really make the book as we get to see Santa doing some pretty amusing things.  It's also fun to look for the elf and reindeer in each picture with Santa. 

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Bradley Bartelby is bad, VERY bad. He's greedy and naughty and selfish and spoiled - and Santa Claus knows it. But when beastly Bradley empties his Christmas stocking to find nothing but a pair of socks, he does quite the baddest thing he has EVER tried to do. He builds a trap - a SANTA TRAP With guillotines, dynamite and a tiger or two, Santa doesn't stand a chance. Or does he?

REVIEW

This book is a winner. All the children I've shared it with have gotten a kick out of it.  Maybe it's because of the exaggerated humor, maybe it's because Bradley is so very bad, or maybe it's because it's satisfying to see Bradley get his just desserts, whatever the reason, the book provides an enjoyable reading experience.  The text reads smoothly with lots of alliteration and just enough description.  The illustrations complement the text perfectly with lots of silly details that children will enjoy looking at and talking about. A kid-pleaser for sure! Highly recommended.

ABOUT THE BOOK

It's Christmas eve on the farm where Otis and all of his friends live. The farmer has given Otis his first real Christmas present--a shiny new horn! A tree has been decorated, a big snowstorm is on its way, and all of the animals are excited. Best of all, one of the horses on the farm is about to give birth to a foal! Yet in the middle of the night the horse begins neighing in pain and when the farmer says, "We'd better get Doc Baker out here or we'll lose 'em both," Otis knows the horse is in trouble. Snow has been falling hard for hours and the roads are unpassable. How will they got Doc? Otis to the rescue! He knows a shortcut through the woods and he arrives at the doc's house flashing his headlights and revving his engine. When Doc fails to awake, Otis uses his new horn. Then, with Doc in tow, he races back to the farm just in time for a Christmas miracle . . . and the arrival of a new friend to play with.

REVIEW

Another fabulous Otis book, I just can't get enough of them.  I adore the sweet and courageous tractor who is willing to do anything for his friends. When Otis's friend, the mare struggles to give birth, he sets out for the doctor despite a furious snowstorm. With the help of his shiny new horn, Otis once again manages to save the day in a satisfying way.  I have to say though that while I love the story, it's the illustrations that win the day. They are so rich in feeling and color and detail. A wonderful story about friendship and sacrifice great for sharing!


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