Little ones just beginning to celebrate Halloween are sure to chime in on the repeated refrain, “you are my little pumpkin,”...

READ REVIEW

THE RUNAWAY PUMPKIN

A HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE STORY

When a little pumpkin tells his mother about all the adventures he wants to have on Halloween, she makes loving preparations so that he will have the best time ever.

Lewis carefully crafts a tale of a watchful mother who wants to ensure a safe and positive experience for her little one. Riffing on The Runaway Bunny, the young gourd imagines riding a witch’s broom, visiting a haunted house, dancing the monster mash at a party, joining friends in a mummy-wrap activity, entering a pumpkin contest, trick-or-treating all through town, and going on a hayride. His mother responds to each announcement with what she thinks will help him: a parachute, his “blanky,” favorite monster shoes, rolls of tissue, a pirate costume, and baked treats to share. Zenz creates flat, uncluttered cartoon illustrations that have a nostalgic feel that pairs well with the comforting cadence of the text. While not artful, they are cheery and bright. “ ‘Hmm…’ the little pumpkin said….‘If you think exploring Halloween will be so great, then you may as well come with me.’ / ‘Then we will explore Halloween together,’ his mother replied. ‘After all, you are my little pumpkin.’ ” Readers will have fun spotting mother pumpkin on the pages showing all the fun her son wants to have.

Little ones just beginning to celebrate Halloween are sure to chime in on the repeated refrain, “you are my little pumpkin,” and be inspired to dream up all the exciting things they can take part in during Halloween night. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63450-214-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The book lacks the engaging hook of the popular song, but the illustrations (mostly) charm.

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL NAME

Oliver and his monkey, Leo, set off on a quest to discover a mysterious, beautiful name in this picture book inspired by the chart-topping worship song of the same name.

When young Oliver hears his mother singing one day, the lyrics of the song “What a Beautiful Name” noodle into his brain. Who or what is this beautiful name? It can only mean one thing: time for an adventure. In their bright yellow rocket ship, Oliver and his trusty sidekick, Leo, jet off over mountains, an ocean, a jungle, a desert, and into outer space and back in search of the mysterious name. Along the way they discover that the name must be not only beautiful, but wonderful and powerful as well. Yet the name they seek is found not in the glory of creation but safe at home in Oliver’s very own Bible. The use of a rocket as their primary mode of transport is a somewhat confusing choice given their largely terrestrial destinations. It is also not entirely clear how Oliver comes to understand the wonder, power, and beauty of the name of Jesus on the basis of his journey. Nevertheless, the rhyme keeps things moving while Scott Ligertwood’s illustrations, reminiscent of Oliver Jeffers’ style, enchant. Oliver presents White, so the choice of an unspeaking monkey sidekick is a regrettable one, given stereotypical associations of monkeys with Black people. Aftermatter prints the lyrics in full and includes a note for parents and scriptural references for those lyrics. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 18.5% of actual size.)

The book lacks the engaging hook of the popular song, but the illustrations (mostly) charm. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-19270-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more