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YO HO HO, HALLOWEEN!

From the Tony Baloney series

It is oh-so-easy for readers to get caught up in both Tony’s infectious excitement and his terrible woes; this should be...

Ryan and Fotheringham once again nail the early-elementary mindset, this time looking at Halloween costumes through Tony Baloney’s eyes.

This year, the macaroni penguin wants to stand out at the school’s Halloween parade, rather than wearing a hand-me-down costume or matching the Bothersome Babies Baloney, so he uses all his savings to purchase an epic pre-made pirate costume. He loves it so much that “he wears it a few minutes a day, or every second of all weekend,” despite his family’s warnings. And sure enough….The pants rip while playing soccer, the hat he left out gets used as a sled by the Bothersome Babies, the sword is confiscated at school, he leaves the eye patch and the parrot (whom stuffed-animal Dandelion wants to marry) at the dentist’s, and the hook gets run over by the garbage truck. When he tells his family, he expects a well-deserved “I told you so,” but instead he gets a parley and a rallying. Each family member contributes items for a new pirate costume; even Dandelion has a part to play. And Tony definitely stands out. Fotheringham’s digital vignettes and double-page spreads are filled with bold primary colors against white backgrounds, making it easy for newly independent readers to handle the text.

It is oh-so-easy for readers to get caught up in both Tony’s infectious excitement and his terrible woes; this should be necessary reading before making costume decisions. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-90885-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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I KNOW AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A DREIDEL

Fun, in an odd sort of way.

The old folk song is given a Hanukkah spin in a parody that blends Jewish tradition with art appreciation.

The kerchiefed grandma swallows a tiny dreidel placed atop her cream-cheesed bagel by the family cat, setting off the familiar chain of events. She swallows the oil, the latkes, 10 barrels of applesauce, a 20-ton brisket, a “mine full of gelt, before it could melt,” the menorah and candles until she is finally full. A large burp makes her feel better. The silliness, cadence and rhythm of the verse all work with the original tune; it can be a tongue twister at times but will keep kids engaged. “I know an old lady who swallowed a menorah— / A mountainous menorah, while we danced the hora.” Acrylic-based drawings using charcoal, pen and pencil place this bubbe in various scenes taken from classical paintings, providing an educational twist. She appears in comical versions of Munch’s The Scream and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. The applesauce in a red-and-white can spoofs Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, and the menorah is set against the background of van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Adults will see the humor but might wonder about the artist’s point in his note stating that “a new look at famous works of art seemed like the perfect way to help people of all backgrounds enjoy this fresh take on an ancient holiday.”

Fun, in an odd sort of way. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-439-91530-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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