Translated from Hebrew, this Israeli import is a poignant cautionary tale told with kindness and humor.

LONG-HAIRED CAT-BOY CUB

A day at the zoo is interrupted by a business call that sends Dad off to the office, leaving his son to have fun on his own.

The boy wanders about, noticing how sad the animals seem in contrast to the happy families all around. After a face-painting makes him look like the titular “long-haired cat-boy cub,” he finds an empty cage, curls up inside, and falls asleep. He awakens on a magical ship helmed by Habakkuk, an eccentric human who is on a mission to kidnap animals from zoos and return them to their natural habitats. The little boy provides lots of information for Habakkuk’s notebook about his new identity, including his need for frequent games and stories and his dislike of important work-related phone calls. He helpfully gives the address of his habitat and is duly returned home. He confronts his parents in his new guise and provides them with the notebook for guidance for establishing a much improved father-son relationship. There is underlying longing as the boy narrates his own tale without anger or bitterness and makes imaginative and strange events seem perfectly reasonable. Basil’s colorful, double-paged illustrations capture the emotions and the magic and provide lots of visual surprises. The narrator, his parents, and Habakkuk all have light skin.

Translated from Hebrew, this Israeli import is a poignant cautionary tale told with kindness and humor. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60980-931-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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