A subtle, accomplished story with few words but a big overall effect.

PIG IS BIG ON BOOKS

From the I Like To Read series

A charming pink pig enjoys reading books of different sorts in different places, leading to the creation of a book of his own.

With short sentences and simple vocabulary, Florian spins a clever tale that will please both new readers and younger children just getting used to stories with a real plot. The first and last pages repeat the titular phrase, “Pig is big on books.” That expression may need some explanation from an adult, but it’s a useful idiomatic phrase that little kids might find amusing. Pig is shown reading his beloved books at home, at school, on the bus, and on his mom’s lap (sharing The 3 Pigs, naturally). But one day Pig just can’t find any books to read, so he solves his problem by creating his own book—the very book readers are holding. This delightful twist ending is made believable by Florian’s naïve illustration style using gouache, watercolor, colored pencil, and collage elements. It’s just possible to imagine that a talented youngster (human or porcine) might have created these appealing illustrations, though adult readers will recognize the skill needed to convey this childlike artistic style. The illustrations of Pig and his animal friends use a bright palette of citrus shades with a dreamy, sunny atmospheric effect.

A subtle, accomplished story with few words but a big overall effect. (Early reader. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3393-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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