SIX HAUNTED HAIRDOS

Having survived an influx of giant, poisonous Siberian snow spiders (Seven Spiders Spinning, 1994), the rival boys and girls of Miss Earth's class in Hamlet, Vermont, face another set of prehistoric critters: a herd of ghost mammoths hunting through the centuries for a misplaced youngling. In the wake of a classroom argument about the existence of ghosts, the Tattletales (girls) gleefully don fright masks and beehive wigs (`` `There is nothing quite so terrifying as hairstyles that have gone out of fashion' '') and send the Copycats (boys) fleeing down spooky Hardscrabble Hill in panic, where there are actual ghosts—indistinct mounds that appear at the first sign of peanuts and wander about with a mournful air. With the help of the new boy, Salim Bannerjee, a newly deceased pet mouse named Jeremiah Bullfrog, plus lots of chocolate donuts from the local bakery-cum-auto repair shop, the Copycats divine the source of the mammoths' unhappiness; they ease it with a handy baby elephant ghost that has followed Salim all the way from the Bombay Zoo. Then, using many cans of hair spray, they give the obliging pachyderms new hairstyles to turn the tables on the Tattletales. Maguire's wit sometimes slips its leash, but the climax is sidesplitting and the gender rivalry thoroughly skewered, although the heartwarming ectoplasmic adoption scene prompts a Thanksgiving Day truce between the factions. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 1997

ISBN: 0-395-78626-6

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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AN ELF FOR CHRISTMAS

The text in Garland’s book has little merit, and appears mostly as an excuse for the digital artwork. The night before Christmas, Tingle, a diligent elf in Santa’s workshop, falls asleep in the cockpit of a toy plane he has been working on. When the plane is wrapped, so is he, and the package is tucked into Santa’s sleigh and delivered to Joey for Christmas. Tingle gets homesick, flies the plane homeward, runs out of power, and hitches a ride with a polar bear. Garland makes no effort to endow his principals with any personality or presence; the artwork suffers from a grating juxtaposition of hyperrealism and smoky, blurred imagery. The proportions and depths of field are discomfittingly exaggerated, except for a scene in which the northern lights are on display above Santa’s workshop—there the otherworldliness perfectly matches the event. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46212-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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