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The most, and best, (pop-up) haunted house in decades.

Fond of house tours? Considering what lurks behind every door, drawer, and flap, here’s the Airbnb from, literally, hell.

“Oh, and one piece of advice,” purrs the partly human guide waiting at the door, “don’t touch a thing.” Viewers valiant (or unwise) enough to ignore that warning are in for a rare screamfest, as every subsequent, dimly lit room is scattered with flaps and pull-tabs that invariably reveal arrays of leering ghosts, hideous monsters, skeletons, imps, or shelves filled with bottles of poison or other portents of doom. Not to mention the raging fire glaring from the pop-up fireplace, the load of disgusting glop sucked into a monstrous mouth, the glutinous thing rising from the bathtub…and so much more. Perrin adds bits of all-too-suggestive patter (“Our cook has been sharpening her knives. You know, some people would kill for a morsel of her tasty creations!”) and lovingly embellishes walls and floors with eerie detail. Unfolding a huge pair of hairy arms reveals a climactic view of assembled boojums beneath an “Abandon hope all who enter here” banner—just the thing to send the never-seen visitor scurrying (“Wait! Where are you going?”)…and probably coming back around to the front for a repeat visit. Not since Jan Pienkowski’s Haunted House (1979) has a pop-up treatment of the theme been so satisfying.

The most, and best, (pop-up) haunted house in decades. (Pop-up picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-776572-74-8

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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From the Monster and Boy series , Vol. 1

No need to be afraid of monsters after reading this sweet and unusual friendship story.

A boy discovers that monsters are real—and that one lives under his bed.

The monster and the boy—no names given—share a bedroom, but they have never met. The monster is nocturnal and has lived under the boy’s bed for many years; he knows the sound of the boy’s voice and loves the smell of his dirty socks. One night the boy’s mother reads her son a book about monsters, and she tells him that there is no such thing as monsters. Knowing this is untrue, the monster decides to introduce himself. Predictably, this doesn’t go as well as the monster expects, and when the boy screams, the monster swallows him in a panic. This is distressing for both the monster (who just lost his only friend) and the boy (who now finds himself trapped inside a stomach). Eventually the monster coughs the boy out—only to discover the boy is now grasshopper-sized. Humor ensues. In archly amusing fashion, the author breaks the fourth wall—this is marked by teal-colored page backgrounds—reassuring readers during potentially scary parts of the book, filling in background details, or collegially including them in aspects of the storytelling. Teal-flecked grayscale cartoons appear on almost every page, making this a solid choice for new independent readers. As depicted on the cover, the boy has tightly coiled brown curls and pink skin.

No need to be afraid of monsters after reading this sweet and unusual friendship story. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21783-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Godwin Books

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch...

Having eaten pretty much everything on land in 13 previous versions of the classic song, Colandro’s capaciously stomached oldster goes to sea.

Once again the original cumulative rhyme’s naturalistic aspects are dispensed with, so that not only doesn’t the old lady die, but neither do any of the creatures she consumes. Instead, the titular shark “left no mark,” a squid follows down the hatch to “float with the shark,” a fish to “dance with the squid,” an eel to “brighten the fish” (with “fluorescent light!” as a subsequent line explains), and so on—until at the end it’s revealed to be all pretending anyway on a visit to an aquarium. Likewise, though Lee outfits the bespectacled binge-eater with a finny tail and the requisite bra for most of the extended episode, she regains human feet and garb at the end. In the illustrations, the old lady and one of the two children who accompany her are pink-skinned; the other has frizzy hair and an amber complexion. A set of nature notes on the featured victims and a nautical seek-and-find that will send viewers back to the earlier pictures modestly enhance this latest iteration.

Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch bland. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-12993-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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