From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3–This story, a riff on The Little Drummer Boy, tugs at the heartstrings and offers a few exciting moments, despite some improbable coincidences. However, the real star here is Long's luminous acrylic art, which gives a real sense of scale and place. On a cold winter's day, a little toy drummer boy in a snappy red uniform mysteriously appears on a child's doorstep. The boy loves the drummer and spends a lot of time listening to him play, but a mishap sends the little drummer on a wild adventure all around town, where he plays his drum and brings peace to every listener he comes across. Finally, the toy ends up in a cemetery, where the boy finds it near his grandfather's grave. He takes the drummer home and, filled with the Christmas spirit, places him at the feet of the baby in the Nativity scene on the mantel. A handsome, if not essential, purchase.–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
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An illustrator of distinctive talent, Long ventures into the author arena with this holiday picture book based on the Christmas classic “The Little Drummer Boy.” In the honored tradition of lost-toy tales, Long’s story unfolds when a magical figurine—a regal drummer whose companionship and soulful percussion offer comfort to a lonely child—is accidentally cast out with the trash. The drummer boy braves a string of harrowing encounters with wildlife, a steep fall from a bell tower, and the blustery winter weather the only way he knows how—by dutifully playing his drum. Captivating acrylic illustrations elevate the sometimes meditative cast of the tale with crisp winter scenes in an elegant blue and gray palette. The final pages, which show a glowing Christmas hearth and the drummer boy playing in a nativity scene before the outstretched arms of the baby Jesus, are sure to ward off any remnants of the story’s winter chill. Grades K-2. --Kristen McKulski