Good spirits takes the solemnity out of differences.

TOO MUCH! NOT ENOUGH!

From the Moe and Peanut series

They could be Felix and Oscar of The Odd Couple, except Perry has made one into what looks like an animated peanut (named, appropriately, Peanut) and the other a tidy refrigerator with Jimmy Durante’s beezer.

Moe likes things on the controlled, neat side; Peanut likes things in constant motion. “Too much splashing” is met with “not enough puddles.” “Too much food” is countered with “Not enough syrup.” The two of them go back and forth, one unnerved by the gathering chaos, the other ready to test the limits of chaos theory. But it is rather fun. Moe may be a bit of a neatnik, but the pink-nosed, snaggle-toothed blue monster isn’t oppressive about it, and Peanut is never an in-your-face pest—actually Peanut’s always looking for the silver lining to turn Moe’s grumbles (though Moe rarely, rarely has a grumpy face) into joy: “Too much mess.” “Not enough bubbles!” That is what separates this book about differences—the mood is upbeat. Even when Moe blows a fuse and goes out into the night to study the stars (though it is raining) and get away from the mayhem, readers know common ground is not far away and that after Peanut has cleaned the place up—inquiring upon Moe’s return if it is “Too much” tidiness—all will be well.

Good spirits takes the solemnity out of differences. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-91950-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available.

THE LITTLE GHOST WHO WAS A QUILT

A ghost learns to appreciate his differences.

The little ghost protagonist of this title is unusual. He’s a quilt, not a lightweight sheet like his parents and friends. He dislikes being different despite his mom’s reassurance that his ancestors also had unconventional appearances. Halloween makes the little ghost happy, though. He decides to watch trick-or-treaters by draping over a porch chair—but lands on a porch rail instead. A mom accompanying her daughter picks him up, wraps him around her chilly daughter, and brings him home with them! The family likes his looks and comforting warmth, and the little ghost immediately feels better about himself. As soon as he’s able to, he flies out through the chimney and muses happily that this adventure happened only due to his being a quilt. This odd but gently told story conveys the importance of self-respect and acceptance of one’s uniqueness. The delivery of this positive message has something of a heavy-handed feel and is rushed besides. It also isn’t entirely logical: The protagonist could have been a different type of covering; a blanket, for instance, might have enjoyed an identical experience. The soft, pleasing illustrations’ palette of tans, grays, white, black, some touches of color, and, occasionally, white text against black backgrounds suggest isolation, such as the ghost feels about himself. Most humans, including the trick-or-treating mom and daughter, have beige skin. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 66.2% of actual size.)

Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6447-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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