Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CHRISTMAS PICTURE BOOKS: Santa Calls/The Steadfast Tin Soldier/The Christmas Fairy/Pick a Pine Tree


ABOUT THE BOOK

Art Atchinson Aimesworth -- inventor, crime fighter, and allaround whiz kid-journeys north with his sister, Esther, and his pal, Spaulding, by special invitation from Santa himself. But why did Santa call? Now available in a new hardcover edition, this truly Joyce-ian crusade features villains and swashbuckling adventure, concluding with a most spectacular and touching Christmas celebration.

A holiday extravaganza like no other, by the creator of Rolie Polie Olie, Snowie Rolie, Sleepy Time Olie, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures wirh the Family Lazardo, and George Shrinks.


REVIEW

One thing I always enjoy about William Joyce's books is the creativity that shines through, especially in the illustrations.  Here is a Santa story, similar in tone to the beloved The Polar Express, and yet the North Pole is quite different in Joyce's imagination, and the reasons for Art's trip, while similar to the boy in The Polar Express, is also quite different in that it's about someone else's wish and not his own.  But Art, his friend Spauling, and his sister Esther are too busy fighting off the dark elves and their evil Queen too think about it more than occasionally.  And as Santa tells Art when he does ask about Santa's invitation, "some mysteries are best left unsolved."  Thankfully though, the reader is not left in the dark as two important letters are included at the end.  A fun book for those who want something a little different in their Christmas stories.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story, with new illustrations.The story of a one-legged tin soldier who loves a paper ballerina from afar is "beautifully set in a wintry [Copenhagen] of a hundred years ago. A handsomely designed book that respects the integrity of a favorite tale while giving it a fresh new interpretation." --K. "A terrific story, well told and beautifully illustrated." --BL. "The art illuminates the story in ways to which the simple language cannot aspire." --NYT. 1992 Books for Youth Editors' Choices

REVIEW

It's always interesting to read a fairy tale that doesn't have a happy ending, which this one certainly does not. And yet, in real life, many stories don't have a happy ending.  Still, despite what could be considered a tragic ending, there is still joy to be found in the tin soldier's steadfastness in the face of adversity and separation from the one he loves (a paper ballerina).  The longer text and plotline make this more appropriate for slightly older audiences.  The real winner here is the gorgeous illustrations that highlight so well the tin soldier's devotion to the ballerina even after he's lost.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Clara's dream is to become a Christmas fairy, whose job it is to stay still atop the tree. But when Christmas lesson time rolls around at fairy school, things don't go quite as planned. Clara's so excited that she can't possibly be still and quiet like a fairy should. Although she tries her best, at heart she's still a wriggly, giggly chatterbox who likes nothing more than making people smile. But when it's time for the big Christmas Show, it looks like that's exactly the kind of fairy Santa needs to help him save the day. At last, Clara can put her talents to good use, and it soon becomes clear that there's more than one way to be a Christmas fairy! This rhyming text from the pair behind The Fairiest Fairy is sure to have readers in a festive mood.

REVIEW

Clara wants very much to be a Christmas fairy, but she struggles to stay quiet and still.  She just can't stop humming and singing and making others laugh.  When her teacher tells her that her efforts aren't quite enough, she feels bad.  But things take a turn for the better when Santa shows up and needs her to use her talents to save the Christmas Show.  This adorable little fairy is sure to win the hearts of young girls everywhere.  The bright colors and cute illustrations are very appealing and the rhyming text works for the most part.  A fun addition to the Christmas season.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A festive read-aloud brimming with all the joy and excitement of Christmastime -- beginning, of course, with picking out a tree!
 
Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan's Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree -- digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.


REVIEW

 In this old-fashioned feeling, enthusiastic look at the time-honored tradition of choosing and decorating the Christmas tree, Toht has created a fun read aloud.  The rhymes work well with a nice rhythm and cadence and the illustrations are bright and cheerful, indicative of the season.  For those just getting ready to celebrate this tradition this book is a fun precursor.  It's also a great introduction to a tradition that many may not be familiar with.
 

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