Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shelf Life [kids]

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, by Eric Litwin, 40 pages.
@ SPL:  JP Litwi

Pete the Cat, a favourite character in the world of children’s picture books, returns for a fourth adventure in Pete the Cat Saves Christmas.

On the day before Christmas, Santa, sick with a winter chill, knows that he won’t be able to deliver the toys from his workshop to children around the world that night. He phones his friend, Pete the Cat, for help.

Ditching his surfboard, Pete sets out for the North Pole from his home in Key West, driving his red minibus. Despite his fear that he might be too small to complete Santa’s huge task, he is determined to “give it his all” … and this is exactly what he does.  Upon reaching the North Pole, the reindeer are hitched to his minibus and they set off around the world – successfully - to make Santa’s Christmas Eve toy deliveries. (“The minibus flew, just like in a movie. / Pete the Cat cried, “This is totally groovy!”)

Eric Litwin’s humourous, playful parody of The Night Before Christmas, told in catchy rhyming verse, highlights the true meaning of Christmas with its positive message of sharing, caring and giving. The bright, amusing artwork of illustrator James Dean adds to the enormous appeal of this laid-back, “cool” cat with his customary dead-pan expression. Young listeners will love this story!

Eric Litwin and James Dean have also collaborated on Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes and Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes, all of which can be found at the Stratford Public Library.    

** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

The Night Before Christmas, Deep Under the Sea, by Kathie Kelleher, 30 pages.

@ SPL:  JP Kelle

The Night Before Christmas 
is given an underwater setting in another new retelling of Clement C. Moore’s beloved poem.

“On the night before Christmas, deep under the sea / Marine life was waiting with expectant glee. / Our seashells were hung on the coral with love / In hopes that dear Santa would appear from above.”

The night is peaceful, and sleepy young mermaids are curled up in their oyster beds with visions of periwinkles swimming through their heads.

Santa is recast as a kindly walrus driving a huge conch shell sleigh pulled by eight lively sea horses with names such as Limpet, Quahog, Urchin and Sea Dog.

The gentleman who witnesses Santa’s arrival is a lobster about to doze off for the night. “Then suddenly diving through briny waves’ courses / Came a huge conch shell sleigh and eight lively sea horses. / With a sprightly, tusked driver, it gave me some pause, / Then I knew he quite surely was dear Santa Claus.”

Clad in a waterproof red rubber suit and carrying a bag full of goodies slung over his shoulder, Santa looks like a jolly pirate hauling his loot. After placing some crisp new sand dollars in each stocking and adding a polar sea star to each Christmas tree, he gives a flap of his flipper and departs with his sea horses.

Kathie Kelleher’s light-hearted, rhyming narrative was inspired when she was snorkeling during a pre-Christmas vacation in Mexico with her family one year.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 8 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 13, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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