TRICK OR TREAT?

Readers will revel in the alliterative names and twisted phrases but the enjoyment will be superficial unless they can figure out that the “ceanut pups” are the “peanut cups,” and other such treats are turned “wackbards” by Merlin’s spell. Martin and Sampson, who have recently collaborated on several titles (I Pledge Allegiance, above, etc.), tell of a young boy going trick-or-treating in his apartment building. On each floor, a costumed resident gives him a treat, until he reaches the apartment of Magic Merlin, who gives him a trick instead of a treat. Back down the boy goes, this time collecting a wacky trick instead. “Belly Jeans” replace the “Jelly Beans.” “Stocolate Chicks” come in place of “Chocolate Sticks,” and so on until the boy returns to his own apartment with a bag full of puppies, cars, and chickens and then his father’s hug breaks the spell. The realistic watercolors depict neighbors in silly Halloween costumes and images of spiders and pumpkins on sweaters and ties. The story itself, though, is a somewhat confusing gimmick that may defy comprehension by primary-aged readers and will not interest most of the older readers, who will see through its contrived story line and all-too-convenient conclusion. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84968-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2002

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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GINGERBREAD MOUSE

What kind of house would be best for a mouse? This well-equipped rodent has a complete wardrobe, furniture, and even her own sled and backpack. Bratun’s detailed paintings introduce a cute mouse character whose cozy home in a tree is ruined by a falling branch. She decamps to a nearby home and takes up residence in their gingerbread house, making new furnishings out of household materials. On Christmas Eve, Santa provides her with an even better home in a furnished dollhouse, and the little girl of the house leaves her a gingerbread mouse cookie as a present on Christmas morning. Little girls who like miniatures and dollhouses will enjoy this simple story, with three different houses full of tiny details. Includes a recipe for gingerbread cookies. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009080-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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