Monday, December 17, 2007

review: Merry Christmas, Cheeps!




Merry Christmas, Cheeps! by Julie Stiegmeyer. Illustrated by Carol Baicker-McKee. Bloomsbury, 2007 (9781-599990-064-3) $9.95

I feel a touch ambivalent about this book, not because it's not likable--it is--but because it's come so very far from the world of the first book in the series, Cheep! Cheep! (Review included below.) The family of chicks no longer sleep on a barnyard perch, but have easy chairs, Christmas trees and fireplaces, and their story is not told in a few carefully chosen words but in fairly ordinary rhyme. "Catch a snowflake from the sky... sparkle sparkle wish/Spread our snowy angel wings... flutter flutter swish." There is no real connection to the original book, and no longer anything inspired to make this title stand out amongst other likable Christmas books. Still, the almost-touchable collage illustrations, featuring terry-cloth chicks, continue to have strong visual appeal--and you have to love the chicks in knitted caps and scarves, catching snowflakes, shaking jingle bells and making snow angels. (1-3)




Cheep! Cheep! by Julie Stiegemeyer. Illustrated by Carol Baicker-McKee. Bloomsbury, 2006 (1-58234-682-8) $9.95

Three little chicks sleep sleep sleep sleep, while underneath their perch an egg lying on a nest cracks and goes "cheep." "Peep?" says one chick, opening an eye... was that a "cheep?" Time to carefully "creep" off the perch... but "eep!" Not too far! Handcrafted chicks, made of cuddly-looking terrycloth and colorful top feathers, are both expressive and adorable as they act out a funny little story, told with only seven rhyming words. All ends happily with more sleep sleep sleep sleep. Plain, colored backgrounds keep the illustrations easy on the eye with some colorful frames on alternate pages adding a little extra visual appeal. Although made of sturdy paper rather than board, this is an ideal book to share with young child, especially since adults will enjoy reading it too. (1-3)

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