While possessing just a fraction of the magic that Hervé Tullet’s Press Here offers in abundance, this unexceptional...

THIS BOOK IS MAGIC

Wave a finger and a ship disappears; twirl the same finger and a cupcake appears.

Between swishing, rubbing, and tapping, readers are led to free a colorfully maned lion from its circus cage and to transform a princely frog into a flamingo. But aside from the clever use of “gone-zo,” the second-person narrative relies heavily on tired incantations such as “hocus pocus,” “shazam,” and “presto change-o.” Dull phrasing defuses what should be instinctive reactions of wonder. “Amazing! Bet you were wondering where the ship went. / You really are good at magic!” Disappointingly, Evanson chooses to launch her participatory adventure with a sleight-of-hand cliché. The hat trick features an aloof white Victorian rabbit that contrasts sharply with its engaging counterpart on the bold and sparkly cover. From the unimpressive stack of supersized books to the visually off-putting banquet of persimmon-, black-, and mustard-colored desserts, the prevailing matte pastel palette of the retro artwork fizzles rather than sizzles.

While possessing just a fraction of the magic that Hervé Tullet’s Press Here offers in abundance, this unexceptional addition to the ever expanding field of interactive titles holds some appeal for the preschool set. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54392-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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