Share with kids who like their spooky stories more silly than scary.

SCARECROW MAGIC

What happens to a scarecrow under the glow of a full moon? He leads a night of fun and frolic with other nocturnal creepy creatures.

Masessa creates suspense with steady rhyming text: “Hung from a post, a man made of straw / Moves a finger, a hand, an eyebrow, a jaw. // The magic is building. The ground comes alive. / Troublesome creatures begin to arrive.” Readers will observe oddly shaped beings emerging from the soil and appearing in jagged silhouettes on the horizon. Fantastical ghouls of many types come running to join the scarecrow in his field. But a page turn shows him as “He jumps from his post, landing light as a pin. / With a zip and a swoosh, he slips out of his skin.” The double-page spread shows the scarecrow stripped down to his skeletal self (but for polka-dot boxers) and gleefully jumping into the pond. Soon the goblins are jumping rope and bowling with pumpkins and gourds, and each monster hides “while skeleton seeks!” But soon the sun begins to rise, and the creatures must “blend into the shadows” or “burrow down low” while Scarecrow “zips up his skin” and climbs back to his post. Myers expertly paints highly detailed and textured illustrations to bring all the nighttime antics to life. Even though the various creatures look scary at first glance, a closer look reveals their toothy grins and playful behavior.

Share with kids who like their spooky stories more silly than scary. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-69109-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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