Gorgeously whimsical and utterly convincing.

THE MIDNIGHT FAIR

What happens after the midway closes and rides shut down for the night?

Forest animals—deer, bears, squirrels, a stoat, a badger or two, a wolf, a fox, rabbits, mice—peer from the shadows of trees by the field where trucks arrive to set up the county fair. They watch from the edge of the woods as the fairground fills with humans who stay late into the evening. The families leave, the caretaker pulls a large switch, and the fairground is, for a moment, dark and empty. Only the silhouettes of the creatures can be seen against the dark forest, along with many pairs of glowing eyes, moving toward the now-quiet fairground. A lively after-hours adventure follows. Two raccoons flip the switch on as furry fairgoers bring mushrooms, wildflowers, pine cones, and acorns for payment. Di Giorgio interprets Sterer’s wordless tale in a rich, soft palette, with dramatic full openings and multiple detailed frames conveying the excitement, the lights, the smells of popcorn and fairground foods, the sounds of rides and riders. Even the harmless flames of the Dante’s Inferno ride seem fun. Animals whirl in teacups, ride the roller coaster under the moon, and leave at dawn, tired, happy, and a bit sticky. The wolf, at the edge of a lake, releases a goldfish won at the ring-toss booth. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gorgeously whimsical and utterly convincing. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1115-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

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

Did you like this book?

more