Most needed where monsters, whether small Icky Yickies or the enticing video Obsess-O-Tron, have become worrisome pests.

READ REVIEW

MY MEGA MONSTERPEDIA

An alphabetical gallery of (mostly) household monsters to conquer, from the Aysnortuptoys to the troublesome but diminutive Zzeworriez.

Having provided much helpful advice about How to Ward off Wolves (2013), Leblanc and Garrigue turn to another sort of bugaboo—just as hairy and scary, often, but far more diverse in shape and mischief-making abilities. Each of the 50 entries features descriptions of bad behavior, notes on accustomed habitat, and canny notes on how to neutralize, gross out, or otherwise counter the menace or annoyance. The translators are to be commended for rendering the French originals into such vividly descriptive monikers as the shoe-sole–seeking Creepinpoop, toilet-dwelling Drainbane, nose-invading Snotz, and diaper-clad Vampteether. Most of the creatures in the cartoon illustrations are variously eyed, multitentacled figures rendered in garish colors and outlandish shapes. Humans are white when depicted singly in a scene but display a range of skin colors when appearing in groups. A cutaway view of a house showing common trouble spots and a complete visual index of monsters with ratings (“Nice” to “Extremely mean”) cap this eminently useful gathering.

Most needed where monsters, whether small Icky Yickies or the enticing video Obsess-O-Tron, have become worrisome pests. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60887-709-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Insight Kids

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Steer Cthulhu-craving kiddies to Charles Gilman’s fearful and funny Lovecraft Middle School.

DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM

Dr. Fell, foul fiend or friend to children?

The last house on Hardscrabble Street, empty and old, has always been a playground for the local children, so when a “sold” sign appears in the yard, no one’s pleased. Jerry and Gail Bloom and Gail’s friend Nancy Pinkblossom meet their new neighbor, the wizened Dr. Fell, and bemoan the loss of their play space. A few days later, a fantastical playground of pirate ships and castle towers appears in Dr. Fell’s yard. Before long, children start getting hurt there, but every injury on Dr. Fell’s playground heals quickly under his care. Gail, Jerry, and Nancy grow suspicious, especially when their parents start acting strangely. Then Gail returns from a visit to Dr. Fell acting brainwashed. Her friend and brother cure her, but as Dr. Fell’s control of the town grows, the trio realizes something terribly sinister’s afoot. Can they head it off? Actor and storyteller Neilsen’s debut tries too hard from the start. Dr. Fell speaks in purple prose and then translates himself nearly every time he converses, a characterization tic that grows old quickly. Repetition of humorless gags and forced quirkiness in nomenclature cannot be saved by a shallow attempt at Lovecraft-ian horror far too late in the tale. Terry’s black-and-white illustrations add atmosphere and depict an evidently all-white cast.

Steer Cthulhu-craving kiddies to Charles Gilman’s fearful and funny Lovecraft Middle School. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93578-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A grim cautionary tale reworked as a short adventure with a happy ending for primary grade readers and listeners.

THE SECRET OF THE KELPIE

Playing by the loch on a sunny afternoon, the blacksmith's five children find a beautiful white horse and attempt to ride it, only to be nearly drowned.

In this latest addition to a series of retellings of Scottish folk and fairy tales, the author uses elements of various traditional versions and acknowledges several collections of Scottish tales as source material. But Don makes her story far gentler than many. The youngest child, Flora, is the principal: the one who finds the beautiful white horse, figures out its true identity as a shape-shifting kelpie, and saves her siblings. No children die, and no fingers have to be cut off, only a piece of the creature’s mane. Sadly, though the story is told smoothly, with interesting language and plentiful dialogue, it never really comes to life. There are some Scottish words and usages: "Don't be daft," says Fergus when Flora refuses to get on the horse. But neither words nor images provide a strong sense of place. The illustrations, full of lines and swirls suggesting action, don't help to draw readers in. The characters are distant, even in close-up portrayals, looking down and away from readers. The colors are muted, just like the tale.

A grim cautionary tale reworked as a short adventure with a happy ending for primary grade readers and listeners. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78250-253-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kelpies

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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