SCARECROW MAGIC

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

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM THE CRAYONS

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity.

A holiday-centered spinoff from the duo behind the inspired The Day the Crayons Quit (2013).

With Green Crayon on vacation, how can the waxy ones pull off a colorful St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Duncan, their (unseen) owner? Through their signature combo of cooperation and unwavering enthusiasm, of course. Blue and Yellow collaborate on a field of shamrocks that blends—however spottily—into green. Nearly invisible White Crayon supplies an otherwise unclothed light-skinned leprechaun with undies, and Orange draws a pair of pants that match the wee creature’s iconic beard and hair. Pink applies colors to a vest, and Purple, a natty jacket and boots. Chunky Toddler Crayon contributes a “perfect” scribbly blue hat; Beige and Brown team up for the leprechaun’s harp. In arguably the best bit, Black exuberantly manifests a decidedly unvariegated rainbow, while Gold’s pot of coins is right on the money, hue-wise. Their ardor undimmed by the holiday’s missing customary color, everyone assembles to party. Though the repartee among the crayons isn’t as developed as in previous outings, the book hews close to Daywalt and Jeffers’ winning formula, and there’s still enough here to keep readers chuckling. And, in a droll “wait for it” moment nicely calibrated for storytime, Green returns from vacation, sunglasses and suitcase in hand: “Did I miss anything while I was gone?” (The cover illustrations do hint at some Green-inflected remediation.)

A predictable series entry, mitigated as usual by the protagonists’ perennially energetic positivity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593624333

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

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