A Halloween anatomy lesson sure to tickle funny bones.

“Head and shoulders, knees and toes. / Trick-or-treating, here we goes!”

Skelly Bones Skeleton is excited for Halloween; after all, skeletons sleep the whole rest of the year, so he likes to really live it up on Halloween. But what should his costume be this year? Not a witch—he couldn’t stay on the broomstick. Not a monster—too scary. A ghost! In no time, he’s ready to go. Only he hadn’t planned on the wind, which catches his sheet and lofts him up and then drops him…in separate pieces. And in a twist that will remind readers of “Humpty Dumpty,” the other trick-or-treaters can’t put Skelly back together correctly—they make him look like them: a snake, an ant, and a chicken. Finally some human kids come by. They’re at first scared by the pile of bones (more so when it talks!), but Skelly convinces them he’s friendly and needs a hand, and once he’s back together, they all set off trick-or-treating together. Richmond’s illustrations, done with pen and ink, foam stamp, and Photoshop, use a palette heavy on purple, orange, and green. Skelly’s personality shines, his eyebrows and mouth doing much of the emoting. The skeleton is an unconnected group of bones, most long and skinny save for the pelvis, which resembles tighty whities, and the skull. The three children include a brown-skinned girl skeleton, a pale-skinned pirate with glasses, and a beige-skinned chef.

A Halloween anatomy lesson sure to tickle funny bones. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-12706-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

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