From the Construction Site series

A lovely book that ties the Christmas message of friendship and generosity to the satisfaction of a job well-done. (Picture...

A jolly team of trucks rushes to build a firehouse in time for Christmas.

With a big-city skyline in the background, Bulldozer clears the way for Excavator to dig the foundation. Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, and Crane Truck all do their parts for a brand-new fire station. As each ends his day (not one of these anthropomorphized trucks is gendered female, unfortunately), a special gift just for him awaits, with a thank-you card attached from the trucks’ unseen human crew. Rinker tells the story in rhyming couplets set in sans serif type that moves along with the trucks: “An icy wind blows in his face / but Dump Truck revs to keep the pace. / His back is sore, his tires are shot, / but Dump Truck gives it all he’s got….” Emulating Tom Lichtenheld’s style for this companion to the perennial bestseller, Ford’s colored-pencil illustrations in soft, rich tones vary between full double-page spreads and framed insets, shifting focus from each truck’s individual effort to the overall task at hand. The entire story is framed by spreads front and back that show the trucks asleep, ending with the words that are repeated throughout: “Merry Christmas! And…goodnight.” A crescent moon smiles benevolently above all.

A lovely book that ties the Christmas message of friendship and generosity to the satisfaction of a job well-done. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3911-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018


It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how many mediocre sequels you can squeeze out of Seussian property.

Since a reformed Grinch is hardly any fun, this follow-up Grinches him up once more.

Those seeking more of the same, prepare to receive precisely that. Christmas is coming (again!), and the Grinch can hardly wait. He’s been patient all year, and now he can finally show the Whos down in Who-ville how much he’s changed. When the Grinch learns of a tree-decorating contest, he figures that if he wins, it’ll prove he truly has the Christmas spirit. He throws himself into the task, but when it comes time to judge the trees, the Grinch is horrified to discover that he’s received only the second-place trophy. Can Cindy-Lou Who find the words to save the day? Replicating many of the original beats and wordplay of the original, this tale feels like less a sequel and more like a vaguely rewritten variation. Meanwhile, Ruiz’s art seeks to bridge the gap between the animated Chuck Jones version of the Grinch and the one depicted in the original book. This thankless task results in a strange uncanny valley between Seuss and Jones but does allow the artist a chance to colorize everything and lend some racial diversity to the Who population (Cindy-Lou is light-skinned). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how many mediocre sequels you can squeeze out of Seussian property. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593563168

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023


From the How To Catch… series

Cookie-cutter predictability.

After all the daring escapes in the How To Catch… series, will the kids be able to catch Santa?

Oddly, previous installments saw the children trying (and failing) to catch an elf and a reindeer, but both are easily captured in this story. Santa, however, is slippery. Tempted but not fooled by poinsettias, a good book (attached to a slingshot armed with a teddy bear projectile), and, of course, milk and cookies, Santa foils every plan. The hero in a red suit has a job to do. Presents must be placed, and lists must be checked. He has no time for traps and foolery (except if you’re the elf, who falls for every one of them). Luckily, Santa helps the little rascal escape each time. Little is new here—the kids resort to similar snares found in previous works: netting, lures, and technological wonders such as the Santa Catcher 5000. Although the rhythm falters quite a bit (“How did we get out you ask? / It looked like we were done for. / Santa’s magic is very real, / and I cannot reveal more”), fans of the series may not mind. Santa and Christmas just might be enough to overcome the flaws. Santa and the elf are light-skinned, one of the children is brown-skinned, and the other presents as Asian. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Cookie-cutter predictability. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9781728274270

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2023

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