These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience.


The How to Catch A… crew try for Comet.

Having already failed to nab a Halloween witch, the Easter Bunny, a turkey, a leprechaun, the Tooth Fairy, and over a dozen other iconic trophies in previous episodes of this bestselling series, one would think the racially diverse gaggle of children in Elkerton’s moonlit, wintry scenes would be flagging…but no, here they lay out snares ranging from a loop of garland to an igloo baited with reindeer moss to an enticing candy cane maze, all in hopes of snagging one of Santa’s reindeer while he’s busy delivering presents. Infused with pop culture–based Christmas cheer (“Now I’ve already seen the shelf with the elf”), Comet prances past the traps until it’s time to gather up the kids, most of whom look terrified, for a group snapshot with the other reindeer and then climb back into harness: “This was a great stop but a few million to go / Christmas Eve must continue with style!” Though festive, the verse feels trite and unlikely to entice youngsters. A sprinkling of “True Facts About Reindeer” (“They live in the tundra, where they have friends like the arctic bunny”) wrap up this celebration of the predatory spirit. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 9781728276137

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2022

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A strong series start.


From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A pinktypical bit of problem-solving with a holiday theme.


Pinkalicious turns a “Secret Snowman” gift from fashion disaster to fab in this easy reader outing.

Joining a recent spate of holiday celebrations that never actually mention a specific holiday, the episode begins when Pinkalicious pulls classmate Molly’s name from the bowl at school and decides to knit her a “pinkamazing” sweater. Unfortunately, the project is beyond Pinkalicious’ knitting powers, and the finished result is a sad mess. What to do? Enter Dad, on his way to an “ugly holiday sweater party” at work…and the next day Molly is delightedly modeling a sweater so encrusted with garland, pompoms, candy, and small ornaments that the ragged original is transformed. In no time Pinkalicious is teaching the entire class, including Ms. Penny, the teacher, how to knit and decorate holiday scarves and other small projects because: “ ’Tis the season to make everything sparklerrific!” In similarly oblique visual nods to certain December festivities, the sedate, finely detailed illustrations feature a gaudy evergreen on Dad’s sweater and a brown-skinned classmate knitting, and then rocking, a red, green, and black scarf. Pinkalicious presents as White (as do Ms. Penny, Mom, Dad, and brother Peter), Molly presents as Black, and the class is racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pinktypical bit of problem-solving with a holiday theme. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-300388-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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