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BIG PUMPKIN

In a nicely cadenced variant on the cumulative tale about a turnip, a witch is vainly trying to tug a pumpkin off its vine in order to bake a pie. A number of other Halloween figures (ghost, vampire, mummy) happen by to help; they sneer at the little bat who suggests that they all pull together, but then take his advice. They share the witch's pie, and afterward she plants one of the pumpkin seeds. In Schindler's deft, colorful illustrations, these familiar figures take a traditional, popular form, just scary enough to be fun. A sure-fire addition to the Halloween shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-782683-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS

The words to a Christmas song from the 1950s serve as the text for this exploration of a most unusual Christmas gift. An unnamed little girl in pink pajamas is the first-person narrator, explaining in detail why she wants a hippopotamus as her present. Various views of the hippo are shown in a slightly confusing, nonlinear time sequence, but then why would time proceed in a straightforward fashion with a hippo in the house? Santa is shown pushing the hippo through the door, and the following pages show the little girl caring for her hippo, unwrapping it as a Christmas package (a different packaging treatment is shown on the cover), and then flying off with Santa as the hippo pulls the sleigh. Though the little girl and the words to the song are rather ordinary, the lively, lavender hippo in Whatley’s illustrations is a delightful creature, with a big, pink bow on its head and expressive, bulging eyes. (In fact, that hippo deserves a name and a story of its own.) The music and song lyrics are included in the final spread. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-052942-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2005

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