A Halloween story that’s more cozy than creepy.



An adorable hedgehog forgets about the upcoming Halloween party. Now the day is here, and he has no costume to wear. Thank goodness he’s got a determined and creative trio of friends to help him out.

Pinto and Sutton (Hedgehug: A Sharp Lesson in Love, 2011) tackle a topic that is all too familiar—what to wear? Hannah the armadillo is the first on the scene to help her friend. When he “slip[s] his costume carefully over his head” and yells, “Boooooo!” a terrible rip turns Hedgehug the ghost into a wedge of Swiss cheese. Edie the owl uses purple balloons and a few leaves to turn Hedgehug into a bunch of grapes…before they all pop. Doris the rabbit snips and clips fabric for a mummy costume, but he trips when he tries to walk. With his hopes of attending the party unraveling, he begins to return home. But on his way, he notices that “something [is] following him.” He nervously turns to the shadowy figure only to find out it is his friends who have thought up “the perfect costume”—a cactus! The vividly hued illustrations, created in part by textured collage, nicely complement the urgent dialogue propelling the story, while the spunky earnestness that shines through the simple features of the characters and the energy captured in their silhouettes are endearing.

 A Halloween story that’s more cozy than creepy. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-196104-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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