Patient seekers will enjoy this Halloween party; others should steer clear.




Readers follow Bear on Halloween, searching for treats in this seek-and-find title.

Bear and his forest-animal friends are surrounded by autumnal sights and colors in Dudás’ boldly colored cartoon spreads, from piles of hay, corn, leaves, and bones to a field of tractors at the pumpkin patch and a cemetery packed with gravestones. Brief text continues the thin story of Bear and his pals and gives them (and readers) something to search for in each picture: a spider-ring party favor, a masquerade mask, a pocket watch. Flat colors and no shadows facilitate seeking, but it’s still not supereasy: There’s no answer key, though all the items can be found in Bear’s room at the end, and readers may need to see the gourd there in order to spot it in a crowded pumpkin patch. Children will search in vain, however, for the honeycomb that the opening statement (mis)leads readers to believe will be at every shindig. Though adorable, the animals are expressionless (and mouthless), and all animals of each species share the same costume: The raccoons are “mad scientists,” the owls are scarecrows, the deer are witches, etc.; Bear is the only bee. The animals labelled skunks, however, are pictured as badgers. In the end, Bear does get his honeycomb: His friends have found some and delivered it to the final party—at his house. Readers will wonder where it came from.

Patient seekers will enjoy this Halloween party; others should steer clear. (Novelty picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-257079-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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