Readers may learn a thing or two about both being a friend and getting over their own fears.

READ REVIEW

GROUNDHUG DAY

A moose and his forest friends are busy planning a Valentine’s Day party, but one aspect of the organizing stops them in their tracks.

Squirrel’s got the balloons covered, Bunny’s on the cards, and Porcupine is practicing hugs. But when Moose announces that everyone has to come, Bunny points out a potential problem: if Groundhog sees his shadow, he’ll go back to sleep and miss the party. The animals try to devise clever solutions, but they argue so long about which is best that they miss their opportunity: Groundhog’s already seen his shadow and gone back inside. When the friends surmise that he is afraid of shadows, they each propose a fun way to ease his fears, and they are successful. But to their disappointment, Groundhog is still going back to bed: it’s cold. They do receive “Groundhugs” beforehand, though. Six weeks later Groundhog emerges sporting a jaunty green suit and top hat, ready for a St. Patrick’s Day party. But now Bunny is mysteriously holed up….Denise’s digital illustrations anthropomorphize the friends, who walk on their hind legs. Most are accessorized and/or clothed, and they are surrounded by familiar human sights: houses, furniture, teacups. The light and shadows in the artwork are magical, a golden glow pervading the spreads.

Readers may learn a thing or two about both being a friend and getting over their own fears. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-5356-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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