EVERYBUNNY DANCE!

The coast is clear! It’s a perfect chance for a colony of bunnies to dance, play, and sing.

Brief rhyming phrases lay the groundwork for the bunnies’ activities. “Everybunny dance! // And clap your paws, / and twist and twirl, / and shake your tail, / and wiggle and whirl.” After dancing, the bunnies pull out their instruments: “Everybunny play! // And bang a drum, / and play the flute, / and blow a horn, / a-tooty-toot!” Just as the bunnies are singing, the villain appears: a fox! “Everybunny run!” As the bunnies hide, they watch the fox dance, play a clarinet, and perform a somersault. But the fox is lonely and sad without an audience. Surprise! Everybunny claps and invites the fox to join in with their fun. The attractive and creative illustrations paint the bunnies to match the text’s exuberance. Some are in brown or red polka dots, some sport bow ties, and some wear ballet shoes or tutus. The fox makes a dramatic entrance with just its vivid red head spreading menacingly across two pages. The page composition as a whole is effective, with good page turns and focal points and with some words highlighted. There are several opportunities for using the book with children, in addition to reading the story. It could be a challenging counting book (there are as many as 24 or 26 bunnies per page) and/or a game for storytime with kids acting it out (with a tolerant adult).

Foxy fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9822-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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