By Kathy Brandon
Illustrated by Jennifer Kasitz
© 2023, Munn Avenue Press
This is such a fun book for the little ones in your life! The story itself is told through the eyes of a young child. While my first reads on this Nonna story and the previous one made me think the narrator is a young boy, I believe that neither the child’s gender nor their name is revealed, thus letting all young readers identify with the character, and live the adventure vicariously through the character’s eyes. This fits in perfectly with the clear inclusive intent of the story. Delightful illustrations show people of many races, genders, abilities, and ages, all celebrating the season together in a joyful community.
Pages are filled with color, action, and fun onomatopoeic words for reader and child to say together, as well as illustrations to explore. Seasonal clues like pinecones and acorns, brilliant foliage, and other details invite discussion with young ones. The little red truck appears on every page, but sometimes it’s hiding. Can you find them all?
But this isn’t just a story to be read once and forgotten. At the back, the author has listed an illustrated index of all the creatures illustrated throughout the book, with an invitation to search the pages, find, and identify each one. What a great way to help children understand that animals, bugs, and reptiles are part of the natural world, and should be respected and enjoyed!
Also at the end, the author has included a list of discussion questions to explore as a family, and activities shown in the book that readers might find in their own communities, as well as crafts to try, recipes to make, and fun activities the family can do together. In addition, there are mentions of the STE(A)M learning process and the Empty Bowl fundraisers, which I’d never heard of before but now will be looking for.
All in all, this is not only a wonderful children’s story, but a fantastic door that opens a whole new learning experience for young and young at heart. If you have little ones in your life, you should definitely check out this series. Very highly recommended.