This book and its companions need more holiday sparkle and less everyday meh.


From the First Celebrations series

A bite-size exploration of Halloween hues.

A green-spotted caterpillar costume (worn by a black child), a blue balloon held by a white tot in a clown costume, orange pumpkins, and more are presented, each on its own double-page spread, to help little ones learn their colors. The two-dimensional art, which looks to be cut-paper collage, employs bold images with rounded shapes in highly saturated tones. With two unrhymed sentences per page, the text is simple and encourages interaction: "Say hello to these two white ghosts." The board book is shaped like a squat pumpkin, which serves the internal pages poorly. Hats, flashlight beams, and the moon are cropped at odd angles due to the book's protruding stem. This problem persists in the other two titles releasing simultaneously in the First Celebrations series. In Thanksgiving Counting, Mom's hair is strangely excised by the book's turkey contours, and an elf's hat is partially missing in Christmas Colors & Counting. While the Thanksgiving tale makes a nod to diversity with a family that has skin tones ranging from white to medium brown, some may find the inclusion of the Native American in stereotypical garb troubling. The Christmas offering of the series is the most successful, as it presents clear objects (candles, buttons on a gingerbread cookie, and reindeer noses) for little fingers to count.

This book and its companions need more holiday sparkle and less everyday meh. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-533-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.


The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)


Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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