Counting Christmasby Karen Katz
Join in the fun and count down to a magical Christmas!
Count all of the Christmas joy with this bedtime book, now in a sturdy format perfect for the youngest readers.
Publishers WeeklyKatz (Counting Kisses) has got kids' number in this sweet counting book that taps into the air of anticipation on Christmas Eve. Three children and their parents prepare for a celebration with all the fixin's-10 lights, nine presents, eight cookies for Santa, etc., which help add up to "one magical day for families and children to share." A mix of collage, gouache and colored pencil creates a kaleidoscope of hues and patterns. With their large heads and minimalist features, Katz's rosy-cheeked, smiling figures have the appealing semblance of sweet-faced baby dolls. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) FYI: Katz brings the same cheerful illustrative style to My First Kwanzaa, a picture-book introduction to the seven principles celebrated during the weeklong festival of African heritage (Holt, $14.95 ages 2-5 ISBN 0-8050-7077-X; Nov.). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's LiteratureOne of my pet peeves about many counting books is that they are unnecessarily confusing to the child just learning to count. Kids enjoy hunting for the objects on the page, but leaving them partially obscured or including other objects that could easily be added into the count just leads to frustration. Unfortunately, this book commits both of those errors. It starts out well—"ten tiny lights get twirled around the tree" is accompanied by bold graphics that make the lights fun to count. Parents can follow up with "how many purple lights can you count?" However, "seven velvet stockings hang above the hearth" includes one stocking partly blocked by two children; this stocking also falls into the crease between the two pages and is easily overlooked. "Four loving arms wrap hugs around each child" sounds as if each parent has four arms apiece, but the illustration is confusing because the childrens' arms are more easily seen than the parents' are, adding up to ten arms in the illustration. The layout of the book is inviting, with the number displayed prominently in decimal and written form on the page facing the illustration, with the appropriate number of snowflakes below the text. 2003, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, Ages 3 to 5.
Dr. Judy Rowen
School Library JournalPreS-Gr 2-Three young children make the transition from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day by counting backward from 10 to 1. (Perhaps a more apt title would be "Countdown Christmas.") The concept is accentuated by the representation of each number as a numerical expression, as a written word, and as an appropriate quantity of decorative snowflakes. The collage, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations are cheery and have a nice textural feel, with a plethora of seasonal motifs packed into every bit of space. (Some of the layouts have a full page of blank background to the text, allowing for some visual serenity.) The text is brief and lyrical, but is marred by an inconsistent rhyme scheme. Nevertheless, children will enjoy this depiction of a loving family as they carry out their pre-yule preparations and wake up on that magical day.-L. I. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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