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From the Three Little Superpigs series

Updated, Halloween-ready fairy-tale foolery.

The Superpigs continue their zany spins on classic fairy tales with a Halloween twist.

The Superpigs have settled on their costumes and are working on their performance for the Spooktacular Halloween Parade when they’re summoned by Hansel and Gretel to save the stolen candy from the Wicked Witch. Once at her gingerbread house, they’re alarmed to find their familiar foe, the Big Bad Wolf. Using their superskills, they save themselves and make it to the parade in style. Readers unfamiliar with the characters will wonder how the pigs come into their powers. At first, they seem completely and comically without super abilities. “Practice makes perfect,” the text quips, but does practice without magic make pigs fly? This element aside, Evans’ play on childhood classics uses just enough of the originals to make it familiar while still new. The Big Bad Wolf is a particularly fun character, surprising readers (and the pigs!), speaking in rhyme, and even showing up playfully at the end. The illustrations are bright and lively, depicting lots of fairy tale figures, with oranges and purples conveying an autumnal, evening mood. They’re also very detailed, particularly the candy-lined gingerbread house and its lawn full of jack-o’-lanterns. Most of the characters are not human, but Hansel and Gretel are depicted with brown skin. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Updated, Halloween-ready fairy-tale foolery. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-77063-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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