Readers and their parents will appreciate how Lulu works through her dilemma on her own. Not only is this an entertaining...

LADYBUG GIRL AND THE DRESS-UP DILEMMA

From the Ladybug Girl series

Ladybug Girl Lulu is sure what she’ll wear for Halloween until a comment from her brother makes her question her decision.

Once her brother has planted the seed of doubt, Lulu’s usual confidence is shaken. Should she change her mind and try something different from Ladybug Girl? With trusty dog Bingo at her side, Lulu gets to work. Conversational text and deftly created illustrations in ink and watercolor convey Lulu’s determination to find the right costume. As a robot she cannot fit through the door, and as a silent-movie star she will not be able to ask for candy. No one seems to appreciate her hybrid vampire/panda get-up. Lulu still is undecided as her family leaves to go apple picking. She imagines several other dress-up possibilities, but none seems right. A chance encounter with a younger girl who is lost in a corn maze spurs Lulu into action as Ladybug Girl. Whipping off her coat to reveal her costume, Lulu (with some help from Bingo) soon spots a popcorn trail Maya has unwittingly left behind. The three follow it. Soon, Maya and her mother are reunited, and it is clear what costume Lulu will choose. Was there any real doubt?

Readers and their parents will appreciate how Lulu works through her dilemma on her own. Not only is this an entertaining story, but it’s also a good conversation starter about being true to oneself. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3584-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

HOW TO CATCH A WITCH

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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