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Don’t hold your breath waiting for HALF birthday invitations.

Dealey and Blanco give kids another day to celebrate each year.

Though the buildup and celebration start on the first page, it’s not until over halfway through the book that a HALF birthday is finally described: “add 6 months to your actual birthday!” Though Dealey’s HALF Birthday Buddies—a group of anthropomorphic stars—may not rival the Tooth Fairy in terms of popularity any time soon, their enthusiasm and sneakiness cannot be faulted, as they exuberantly leave decorations for sleeping children, bake a HALF cake, and leave HALF invitations. And though they will hide from view, you may hear them sing the HALF birthday song. The rhyming text describes further activities for a HALF birthday party with family and friends, though presents are not a part of this celebration, even HALF ones. There are a few spots for the owner to write in personal details, making this more of a gift book than one for library circulation. The digital illustrations are reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, with bright colors and diverse, overly excited children. Backmatter offers kids the opportunity to go back and find several HALF objects as well as their other halves. But some aren’t to be found in the illustrations or don’t match the pics on this page. For example, half a lamp is never shown whole, and the HALF paint jar is pink, not green, plus there’s a gift despite what the text stated. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Don’t hold your breath waiting for HALF birthday invitations. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781938447556

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Genius Cat Books

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families.

Pumpkins star in this family-centered early reader.

Sketched in rhyming, easy-to-read couplets, this familiar autumn setting is made even warmer by the sweet  family that is making a trip to the pumpkin farm. “Sunny day. Pack a lunch. / In the treetops squirrels munch.” So begins the story of a black mother and father and their young son and daughter. They find their special pumpkins and return home for carving, just in time for trick-or-treating. Mother and father are shown walking hand in hand or gently guiding their youngsters, who are very excited to pick out the perfect gourd. Read aloud, the predictable rhyme scans well, making this a book for emerging readers to read over and over, gaining confidence each time. The full-color illustrations, full of oranges and yellows, match the words, providing important visual cues. Little ones will laugh when the younger brother initially finds a huge pumpkin and rolls it over the hill like a bowling ball. “Thump! Thump! Thump! Then… / Uh-oh!” Eventually, he finds one just the right size for carving. Children of color are remarkably absent in the easy-reader stacks, so it’s an especially welcome treat to see them in this rural setting. Preschool and kindergarten teachers will want to add this to their collections.

A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51341-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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