Still, the story’s lyricism and warmth, coupled with the colorful, cartoonlike illustrations, will leave readers with a...

HELLO, FALL!

How do you greet a season?

A young child in pigtails and an older man, presumably their father or grandfather, make autumnal observations and reflect on their adventure in this poetic selection. From spotting porcupines to watching squirrels, munching on apples to touching ticklish mums (the floral kind), and picking pumpkins to jumping in piles of leaves, this dazzling duo takes advantage of all that fall has to offer, greeting every element. In a whimsical touch, they may even hear the season laughing back. The main characters are white-skinned and rosy-cheeked, while some brown faces appear around the table at the end for a special feast. The narrative decision to use the past tense is an interesting if not entirely effective one, as a young audience is generally more focused on present than past. Moreover, the repeated use of the word “we” leaves some ambiguity about whether it’s the child or the adult describing and eliciting memories about the events, and the tale concludes on a rather saccharine note: “Together, we savored the tender treasures we’d found when we greeted fall: BEAUTY, BOUNTY, WONDER, // And LOVE.”

Still, the story’s lyricism and warmth, coupled with the colorful, cartoonlike illustrations, will leave readers with a smile and perhaps some interesting observations of their own about the magic of fall. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30754-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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