The magic is missing.

READ REVIEW

THE SNOWMAN'S WISH

On a snowy, wintry night, the toys in a woodland cottage each boast that they are the most wonderful; all except a lonely snowman in a globe, long forgotten.

On this night, the snowman hears a voice singing to him, inviting him to dance. Suddenly, he is free to walk about (and has the feet to do it). From on top of the mantel, an angel on a clock tells him that his wish has been fulfilled; his globe is open—but only for one hour. Quickly, the snowman follows the music and encounters a beautiful ballerina in a pink tutu who is turning round and round. In the few minutes left before the hour expires, they dance, but then he must return to his globe. The other toys mock him as he yearns to be free and in the arms of the ballerina. Happily, the ballerina wishes to join him, and fortunately, the same angel can grant her wish. The snowman and the ballerina can now dance together in eternal bliss. Van Straaten, a Dutch author/illustrator, has borrowed freely from popular European fairy-tale motifs, but his story lacks charm and warmth. The watercolor illustrations are pleasant but not distinguished.

The magic is missing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4144-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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