It’s got a werewolf, but it’s bloodless.

The birthday boy accidentally invites a werewolf to his sleepover.

At first, Max doesn’t want to invite new kid Sam to spend the night along with his other friends. “There’s something different about him,” he argues, but his mom counters that “that’s no reason to leave him out.” The third grader conveys his concerns to his other friends, but they seem to like the weirdo—apparently he “can run really fast,” says Michael (similarly initially left off Max’s guest list for nose-picking), and Elliott enthuses that he “always knows what’s cooking in the cafeteria way before lunchtime.” Sam himself seems hesitant, his hair standing on end as he says “I’m not sure I can…there’s a full moon that night.” But Sam decides to show up after all, and during the course of the sleepover he and his oddities start to grow on Max. Before long it’s revealed that the rare-meat–loving, hairy boy who’s inclined to bite is, in fact, a werewolf. The beastly reveal at the end is fun, but the journey there is bogged down by confusing transitions between scenes and awkward sentences. All the characters, including the protagonists, are awfully bland, and their somewhat interchangeable names make it hard to distinguish between them. The illustrations are unfortunately drab for such a lively concept. Max, his mother, and all his guests save Jeremy, who presents black, seem to be white.

It’s got a werewolf, but it’s bloodless. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-76680-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


From the How To Catch… series

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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