Music and dance work their magic on a witch—and readers.



Welcome to a community party deep in the woods.

A hare shares his plans for a nighttime woodland dance with his two good friends, an owl and a hedgehog. It won’t be any ordinary party but one in which everyone will bring something, either food or music, and everyone will be invited, “even the wicked witch.” But she is not in a good mood, is too busy anyway, and says no. Being a witch, she is standing over her pot cooking up a potion even as musical notes enter her kitchen. The potion, alas, goes awry, and the witch blames the outside noise. Bent on revenge, she flies to the scene of the party only to be warmly greeted by the hare. Invited to dance, she is soon swept up in steps of joyous abandon. This import from the Netherlands is a literary, rather lengthy tale that can be read by adults as lessons in community and the power of music to bring joy into the hearts of even the wicked. For children, it is an inviting tale of animals sharing good times with friends and with the neighborhood baddie. Delicate pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations with softly hued backgrounds of orange, pink, green, and gray effectively convey the congenial setting, personable partygoers, and free-spirited movement.

Music and dance work their magic on a witch—and readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-935954-50-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book


Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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?