More exhausting than entertaining.

THE RESCUE RABBITS

Animals in trouble? Who you gonna call? Rescue Rabbits!

Ace, Chip, Dot, and Spot are the Rescue Rabbits. From Rescue Rabbit Headquarters, they use their high-tech gadgets and machines as well as their smarts to rescue animals of all species. They lift Edgar Elephant with their Rescue Rabbits Super-Excavator in order to extract a thorn from his foot. They block traffic with their Rescue Rabbits Limo to allow the Duckling family to cross the street. But their big rescue of the day begins with a call on their Special-Ops Telephone: Prince Rex the Rhino is stuck up a tree with ants in his pants and chopsticks up his nose. When they locate him, the ants and the chopsticks are easy to take care of, but getting him out of the tree proves difficult. He won’t use a ladder or a rope. The Rescue Rabbits bring in Queen Rex, who scares her kid out of the tree and promptly forgives him for using her chopsticks to free her ants from her ant farm. Seltzer’s text unfolds in a combination of speech bubbles and narrative text with tech-words highlighted in red. The perfusion of technobabble does not hide the fact that the story itself is forced. Garrigue’s Richard Scarry–esque cartoons also try too hard, and the combo makes less sense that it ought.

More exhausting than entertaining. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4263-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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