McPhail's soft but unsentimental pen-and-ink drawings completed with muted watercolors strike a pleasant balance between...

READ REVIEW

OLIVIA LOVES OWL

Following the formula established in Ben Loves Bear (2013), Bella Loves Bunny (2013), and Peter Loves Penguin (2014), McPhail here completes his board-book tour of the seasons.

A little girl moves through an autumn day with her well-loved stuffed owl, picking apples and playing in piles of colorful leaves. Tired after this simple adventure, Olivia goes inside to wish upon a star and drift off to sleep, guarded by her vigilant friend roosting at the foot of the bed. Simple text contrasts Olivia’s and Owl's activities. That the owl is a toy is initially unclear, but any child who has a beloved stuffed companion will quickly recognize the bond between the two. Unlike the other children featured in the series, who are all blond and white, Olivia's race and ethnicity are unclear. Her skin is light brown; her dark brown hair is pulled into thick, curly pigtails. Her toys, shown on the first spread, are refreshingly androgynous. Apparently she plays with trucks and blocks as well as dolls and stuffed animals. These choices make this offering accessible to a broad range of children. The image of Olivia reading in bed before drifting off to sleep will warm the hearts of book-loving adults.

McPhail's soft but unsentimental pen-and-ink drawings completed with muted watercolors strike a pleasant balance between real toddler activities and imaginative play. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2127-4

Page Count: 20

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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