Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Roc and Roe’s Twelve Days of Christmas

Nick Cannon, illus. by A.G. Ford. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-51950-2

Rapper/entrepreneur Cannon’s opening note says that he and his (now estranged) wife, Mariah Carey, had “so much fun putting this book together,” and this enthusiasm is evident—perhaps due to the stars of the book: their children Moroccan (“Roc”) and Munroe (“Roe”). Cannon’s version of this carol features the two children placing various ornaments on the family’s Christmas tree, but extra syllables (“On the first day of Christmas/ Roc and Roe put on their Christmas tree”) make for an awkward singalong. Ford’s (Under the Same Sun) cartoons are similarly underwhelming—more dashed-off sketches than the richly rendered work his readers are used to. The book never shakes the feel of a vanity project—readers will have to care quite a bit about Cannon’s family to bother with it. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Robert Caruso, Impact Republic; Ncredible Entertainment. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Last Christmas Tree

Stephen Krensky, illus. by Pascal Campion. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3757-0

Where’s Charlie Brown when you need him? A tiny, scraggly evergreen tries to keep up its hopes for going home with a kind family as the surrounding balsam firs and spruces in the Christmas tree lot are snapped up. But no Schulz character (nor anyone else) takes an interest, even when the forlorn tree is left alone and marked down to “free” on Christmas Eve. Happily, a surprise hero of another sort—who pilots a flying sleigh—arrives to make the tree part of a special delivery. Though the story’s theme is familiar, Krensky avoids slipping into schmaltzy territory. Campion’s digitally rendered scenes have a loose, painterly flair, capturing moods of happy holiday bustle and the lonely, quiet expanse of an empty city lot with equal success. Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Here Comes Santa Cat

Deborah Underwood, illus. by Claudia Rueda. Dial, $16.99 (88p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4100-3

Underwood and Rueda follow Here Comes the Easter Cat with an equally excellent outing that sees Cat attempting to assume the role of another holiday icon. Cat is concerned that he’s been too naughty during the past year (and he has a pie chart to prove it), so he dresses up as Santa—what better way to ensure he gets a gift? As in the previous book, the back-and-forth between Cat and an unseen narrator propels the story’s humor. “Instead of trying to be Santa, why don’t you just try to be nice?” suggests the narrator before coaching Cat through a few less-than-successful attempts at caroling and tree decorating (“Wow,” says the narrator, opposite an image of Cat thoroughly wrapped up in a string of lights). An ideal holiday pick for the naughty and nice alike. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Christmas Wish for Corduroy

B.G. Hennessy, illus. by Jody Wheeler. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-78550-6

Based on characters created by the late Don Freeman, this prequel to 1968’s Corduroy reveals how the bear acquired his familiar green overalls and name. Sitting on a store shelf listening to children chatter about what they want for Christmas, the stuffed bear concludes that he won’t make anyone’s wish list without clothing or a name. After hours, he goes in search of the store Santa to “ask him for a little girl or boy to take me home.” The bear puts on the shop elves’ uniform—green corduroy overalls—which inspires Santa to bestow him with a name; soon after, Corduroy catches the eye of a girl, who claims him as her own. As they provide a lovely bit of backstory for Corduroy fans, the creators of Corduroy Lost and Found again show their prowess at recreating Freeman’s inviting narrative and scratchboard art. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Animals’ Santa

Jan Brett. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25784-1

As she did in 1996’s The Mitten, Brett evokes a wintry landscape filled with animals, distinguished by her signature level of meticulous detail. On his first Christmas Eve, Little Snow, a rabbit in a North Canadian forest, voices skepticism about the existence of the “animals’ Santa.” After all, no other animals have seen him or spotted his tracks in the snow. Even Little Snow’s friends’ descriptions of gifts Santa has left for them don’t persuade Little Snow, who complains, “I think you are fooling me.” As the animals speculate on Santa’s identity, lemming “elves” are busy in sidebar panels, making birch bark drums, pinecone animals, and other gifts. Native American artwork created with porcupine quills inspired the distinctive patterns that frame these border scenes. The dramatic arrival of Santa—an exquisite snowy owl—is well worth the wait. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Latke, the Lucky Dog

Ellen Fischer, illus. by Tiphanie Beeke. Kar-Ben, $17.95 (24p) ISBN 978-0-7613-9038-1

A rescue dog, named for his fur’s resemblance to potato pancakes, is having a rough time making the transition to his new home after he is rescued from a shelter by a family as a Hanukkah gift. Latke doesn’t just eat all the actual latkes, he slobbers on the gelt and chews up the menorah candles. “I’m the right dog,” he thinks. “I love it here. I just need to learn the rules.” By the eighth night, Latke has his head in the game and feels secure in his family’s love. Beeke’s (Some Bunny To Talk To) sprightly illustrations keep the mood of Fischer’s (If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant) story light even in Latke’s darkest moments, but not having the humans take any responsibility for training him feels like a missed opportunity. Ages 2–7. Illustrator’s agency: MB Artists. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Monster Needs a Christmas Tree

Paul Czajak, illus. by Wendy Grieb. Scarletta Kids (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-938063-46-6

The small boy and big blue monster from Monster Needs a Costume and Monster Needs His Sleep return in a holiday adventure that has them racing around town. Setting out to procure a Christmas tree, they’re distracted by a chance to see Santa Claus; cutting in line, Monster leaps onto Santa’s lap and tells him, “I want a snowboard and a glove, a baseball and a bike./ But if you only bring one gift, a puppy’s what I’d like!” From there, the two go sledding, build snow monsters, have a snowball fight, and fashion an ad hoc Christmas tree after discovering that all the evergreens have been sold. Grieb’s exaggerated cartoons are right in step with Monster’s ample energy, and while there are a couple off notes in Czajak’s rhymes, it’s still a lively Christmas outing. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
When, When, When Will It Be Christmas?

Cathy MacLennan. Boxer (Sterling, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-907152-27-6

A frenetic, scattered energy drives MacLennan’s poem, which begins by celebrating holiday reds, whites, and greens before moving on to drum up excitement for decorating, present-wrapping, and a Christmas pageant: “Christmas stories and Christmas songs!/ Costumes! Scenes! And lights!/ A roll of the drum,/ And onto the stage... they come!/ What a spectacular Christmas show!” MacLennan’s characters include white mice in pink tutus, kittens, reindeer with holiday lights swirling around their antlers, and a multicultural crew of children. Her smudgy figures prance across solid backdrops, the bright palette dialing up the energy and sense of anticipation even more. It’s a lot of buildup, but the festivities of the final pages (“We’ve waited and waited and waited./ And... It’s the best Christmas ever!”) don’t disappoint. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book

Diane Muldrow. Random/Golden, $9.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-553-49735-9

Muldrow, editorial director of Golden Books, returns with a second witty compilation of wisdom inspired by the beloved line of children’s books. In contrast to the vintage artwork—from Mary Blair, Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkin, and more—the narrative voice is off-the-cuff and modern, moving from a position of exhaustion (“All that baking, the endless cycle of cooking and cleaning”) to one that appreciates the traditions and merriment of Christmas (“So deck the halls! Deck yourselves!”). Muldrow cleverly repurposes illustrations from holiday and non-holiday titles alike to create a book that will resonate with readers young and old. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Eight Jolly Reindeer

Ilanit Oliver, illus. by Jacqueline Rogers. Scholastic/Cartwheel, $6.99 (16p) ISBN 978-0-545-65145-5

Readers can count down from eight to one, while acquainting themselves with the names of Santa’s reindeer, in this board book with a tabbed format and glitter accents. The reindeer are an active bunch, it turns out—Rogers shows them stretching, playing soccer, sledding, skiing, and more: “Five jolly reindeer/ ready to soar./ Up goes Vixen/ and then there are...” The conclusion to each rhyme does double duty as the start to the next one. It’s a cheerful holiday counting rhyme with plenty of reindeer antics to go around. Ages 2–4. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.