It might be fun once, but Numeroff really holds a corner on this particular market.



If you give an imp a penny, he’ll ask for a glass of milk—er, a “coin bag” to go with it.

Shamelessly borrowed from the iconic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (the authors thank Laura Numeroff in the dedication), this anemic reflection moves the story to a vaguely medieval and magical realm. The imp in question is orange and sort of pointy all over, and his fellow protagonist is a young white girl with long skirts and a snowy white apron. When he gets his penny and buries it in the yard with a borrowed shovel, he makes such a mess that she asks him to clean up. The imp sets the broom on fire, repairs it with straw from her mattress, and makes a collar for the cat—who does not take it, or the subsequent bath, well. But our heroine gives the imp her last apple, and he conjures up some gold coins in gratitude. That makes him think of his buried penny—and probably asking for another one. There’s not a lot of logic here: why would he even ask for a penny if he can conjure up treasure? The pictures have a quality of Disney animation about them, lively and familiar-looking without much verve.

It might be fun once, but Numeroff really holds a corner on this particular market. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4556-2144-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pelican

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Simplified spooks for the we-want-it-just-scary-enough crowd.


From the Mister Shivers series , Vol. 1

A series debut with five screamworthy short stories.

Acquired from a strange box left at pseudo-author Mr. Shivers’ doorstep, the tales are initially introduced via a note to readers. Presented in a mix of first- and third-person narration, the tales run the gamut of eerie episodes. Classmates dare siblings John and Beth to visit a haunted house at night. A child feels a hair in the bottom of their stomach. A creepy statue draped with a tattered quilt haunts a living room. Oliver leaves his toys outside in the rain, but when he looks outside they’ve moved. Lucy hears scraping at the window at night, but mom and dad say it’s just a tree. Brallier’s (The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond, 2018, etc.) strong horror chops translate well into this Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark–lite package for early chapter-book readers. Rubegni mixes high-contrast spot and full-page illustrations, positioning sharply outlined characters against smudgy charcoal backgrounds. The atmospheric, full-color illustrations also aid in decoding. Each page contains fewer than 10 sentences; longer sentences are broken up in multiple lines with ample leading. Occasional words are set in boldface for emphasis and add a little extra thrill factor to the well-paced plots. The final page includes instructions on how to draw Oliver’s teddy bear as well as a few simple creative prompts.

Simplified spooks for the we-want-it-just-scary-enough crowd. (Early reader/horror. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31853-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Parenting skills come in handy even for immense, green, fire-breathing monsters.



A little kaiju yearns to join its mom in saving Earth and other good deeds.

It seems the narrator’s mom at one time was “a little…wild” (“Where did you even find that?” she exclaims, rolling her eyes at a collection of clippings with headlines like “GARGANTUA STRIKES AGAIN”). But now she helps out by resetting knocked-over buildings, tickling rampaging space robots into acquiescence, and blasting the occasional giant asteroid before it hits with her fiery atomic breath. “I want to grow up to be just like my mom,” proclaims the cute little narrator—who chafes at being allowed to cheer her exploits only from a distance. The diminutive lizard-monster therefore determinedly sets out to prove that it’s not a baby any more. Fortunately, Mom comes through in the clutch. After saving her overly ambitious mite from being smooshed beneath the condemned skyscraper it manages to knock down, instead of meting out punishment she cannily suggests that maybe they should work together from then on. “And that’s just what we do,” the dinky dino concludes, adding a pint-sized blast to its mom’s roaring exhalation. Only carping critics will complain that Sylvester models his round-headed narrator and its smiling, much bigger single parent more on Godzilla and Godzilla Jr. than the Gargantua of film in his cartoon pictures. They are missing out on terrific fun.

Parenting skills come in handy even for immense, green, fire-breathing monsters. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-182-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet