Ultimately, this average effort fails to engage and challenge like the I Spy series, but it does offer a holiday-themed...

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MONSTERS ON THE LOOSE!

From the Seek and Solve Mysteries series

A thief has stolen all the candy, and Frankenstein’s monster must solve the case in order to save Halloween.

In the manner of their previous Seek and Solve Mystery (Santa on the Loose, 2012), Hale and Garbot invite readers to help them figure out who is guilty of grabbing the treats. The opening spread shows portraits of the suspects with their possessions, including Vampire Bob, Joey Bones, Igor, Willy the Werewolf, Rowan the Witch and mummy Nefertiti. Readers must then try to spot Frankie in crowded cartoon settings, such as the cemetery, a haunted house, the pumpkin patch and a corn maze. Frankie’s pea green complexion matches those of witches, ghouls and various plants, making the search for him a bit of a challenge. When found, Frankie has a clue in his hand. As the objects accumulate, savvy readers will deduce who is the culprit. For younger searchers, all the items are presented on a concluding spread to help them guess who has made off with the sweets. Garbot packs the pages with silly details that many children will enjoy poring over. For those seeking a further challenge, a “Bonus Search” encourages another flip through the book.

Ultimately, this average effort fails to engage and challenge like the I Spy series, but it does offer a holiday-themed activity to do when all of the candy is eaten and the costumes are put away. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-223706-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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Sure to be poopular with party planners, particularly those with strong stomachs and a hands-on approach.

THE GREAT BIG POOP PARTY

The you-know-what hits the fan after a lad’s parents rashly allow him to pick a theme for his birthday party.

Julian insists, and so after the party store poops out, everyone sets to cranking out homemade poop-up invitations, “poopsicles” and “lollypoops,” costumes, and games like “Pin-the-Poop-on-the-Toilet.” But will anyone drop in? Do they ever—in such massive streams that even the local news team catches wind of the event. Better yet, dancing the “Doo-Doo Doo-op” to tunes from the Dookie-Poo band and whacking the poop piñata, everyone has a blast. The party assumes such legendary status that news of it spreads around the world, prompting Julian and his family to create a graphic instruction manual together. Galán goes to town with swirling scenes in saturated hues with lots of brown, featuring hyped-up figures with wide eyes and huge grins. Julian’s family appears to be an interracial one, with an Asian-presenting dad and White-presenting mom whose attitudes modulate from disgust to delight over the course of the story. Readers inspired to organize poop parties of their own will find models for suitable decorations in the pictures. A caveat: The recipe for poop slime that Berger applies to the tail end uses glue and baby oil, among other ingredients, but is not labeled as inedible. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 65% of actual size.)

Sure to be poopular with party planners, particularly those with strong stomachs and a hands-on approach. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23787-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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