Endearing and good-hearted.


Based on a tale by the Sufi mystic Rumi, this oversized picture book adroitly calms a child’s fear of monsters through some creative parental problem-solving.

Young Amir, toothbrush in hand, stalls at bedtime, imagining a monster with huge teeth who doubtlessly wants to eat him. His dad suggests that Amir growl like a tiger to scare the monster away and offers to intervene with a frying pan—but Amir conjures up monster parents with a larger frying pan. The scenario escalates, with Amir’s mom intrepidly charging in with an umbrella and the monster parents retaliating. Finally, Amir's parents offer coffee and sweets to their counterparts; while they chat, Amir shares his toy cars with his new monster friend, Grobblechops. Thus appeased, Amir settles down for the night in his cozy bed, holding his teddy bear close. But his dad leaves the door open, just a little, to let “a bit of light” in. The kinesthetic, splattery quality of the illustrations draws young eyes to the story, and the slightly off-kilter orientation of many of the scenes adds a sense of appropriately disorienting whimsy. The reassurance offered by Amir’s parents proves a comforting salve for a common childhood anxiety. Amir and his parents have brown skin and black hair.

Endearing and good-hearted. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910328-41-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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In time for Halloween, a BOO-k about a ghost that young readers will enjoy.


What can a ghost do when she’s lost her boo?

Little Ghost has a dilemma. Attempting to frighten an unsuspecting human (who presents White), she finds to her dismay that, instead of her signature sound, only “a rush of cold air” escapes her mouth. Mama Ghost sympathizes but fears her child’s “fright nights are done.” Not one to give up easily, Little Ghost launches a search. She encounters her friends Owl, Pigeon, and Rooster, whose sounds are all similar to “Boo”; unable to join Little Ghost in her search for her boo, they offer to lend her their cries. She declines, explaining that, while the calls are perfect for them, they aren’t as scary as hers. She finally heads home, despondent, and meets another pal whose voice resembles her own. In an unexpected concluding twist, Little Ghost locates the friend she most needs, the one who will assuredly help reclaim her boo-tiful sound. This cute but thin rhyming New Zealand import will appeal to ghost fans; they’ll definitely want to comply—loudly—with the final instruction. The jaunty rhyming couplets mostly succeed but are sometimes awkward. Illustrations and white text type pop against saturated turquoise backgrounds. Occasionally, certain words and onomatopoeic sounds, such as the animals’ calls, are capitalized and appear in display type for dramatic effect. Chubby Little Ghost is amorphous, winsome, and wide eyed. Her pals have a bright, folk art–y appearance.

In time for Halloween, a BOO-k about a ghost that young readers will enjoy. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-20215-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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At least the red button doesn’t initiate the self-destruct sequence—though many more stories of this ilk may cause a market...


There is only one rule: Don’t push the button.

Larry is a rounded purple monster, similar to McDonald’s Grimace but with horns. He stands alone on the page, next to a single red button across the gutter. Red buttons almost always signal danger, but an unmarked button is also impossible to resist. Larry tells readers to not push the button. He comes in closer and growls, “Seriously. Don’t even THINK about it.” But then Larry experiences some inner turmoil. That button does look awfully tempting….He whispers in a conspiratorial tone, “Psst! No one is looking. You should give the button one little push.” With the turn of the page, Larry has turned yellow! Thus begins a familiar romp in which readers are given directions, and poor Larry gains spots and then multiplies into many other monsters. The urgency, desperation and dire pleas contradict a child’s natural curiosity (and perhaps the ever-tempting urge to do what is forbidden). Have we seen this shtick before? Yes. Has it been done in a more engaging, creative way? Yes. (See Press Here, by Hervé Tullet, 2011). But will kids care? No. They will still laugh.

At least the red button doesn’t initiate the self-destruct sequence—though many more stories of this ilk may cause a market implosion. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8746-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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