More ho-hum than ho ho ho.

WHO SAYS HO HO HO?

From the Baby Mirror Board Books series

In trying to find out what Baby says on Christmas, readers encounter lots of sounds animals make.

This board book follows a predictable question-and-answer format. “On Christmas, does Baby say MEOW MEOW MEOW??” gives way with the page turn to “No! On Christmas, Kitten says MEOW MEOW MEOW!” The text explores who says “woof,” “tweet,” “ribbit,” and “glub,” at the end revealing what a chubby, Santa hat–topped Baby says (“HO HO HO!”) beside a tree-shaped mirror inviting readers to say it, too. The structure is certainly appropriate for little readers, who will enjoy playing along, but it comes across as a forced Christmas version of Highlights’ Who Says Uh-oh? (2019). The illustrations are largely photographs with added computer-generated, clip art–style images of gifts, stockings, and snowflakes. If it weren’t for those little touches, that last tot with the Santa hat (also the cover picture), and the words “Ho ho ho,” the book wouldn’t seem to be related to Christmas at all. The Santa baby and two others are pale-skinned or present white; one other appears Asian, and two seem black. While the babies and animals are certainly cute, overall, the illustrations don’t rise above that. This type of book is a dime a dozen, and this iteration doesn’t do anything to stand out, charm, or grab readers.

More ho-hum than ho ho ho. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68437-646-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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