That daffy chicken is back, here viewing Halloween in her inimitably self-referential way. “Oh, hello!” she says to a front-porch scarecrow as she looks at decoration cobwebs, “Did you put up the new curtains?” What she loves most of all, of course, is the very sweet corn the farmer is handing out to everyone who rings the bell. There’s no question that Stoeke’s got her formula down pat: Bright, clean panels depict the reality Minerva Louise observes while her obtuse narration thereof runs underneath. In a nod to the times, the author adds a Harry Potter to the princesses, ghosts and witches who visit the house. Hardly revolutionary, either within her own oeuvre or that of the Halloween book, but kids will like it nevertheless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-525-42149-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009


High-quality, inclusive illustrations make this one stand out.

From the changing season to decorations and costumes, children anticipate Halloween.

Little readers will enjoy all of the familiar markers of the season included in this book: falling leaves, jack-o’-lanterns, Halloween costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating. Everett’s rhyming couplets bob along safely, offering nothing that will wow but enough to keep the pages turning. It’s Wen’s illustrations that give the most to readers, full of bustling scenes and lovely details. A double-page spread of the children in town in front of the candy store includes jars with individually drawn treats and other festive delicacies. The townwide celebration features instruments, creative costumes, and a diverse crowd of people. There are three children who appear as the focus of the illustrations, though there are many secondary characters. One bespectacled White child is drawn in a manual wheelchair, another has dark brown skin, the third presents Asian. The child in the wheelchair is shown as a full participant. Readers will enjoy spotting spooks like a vampire, goblin, and werewolf, as they sometimes appear in the background and other times blend in with the crowd. The familiar trappings of Halloween paired with the robust illustrations will have little readers wanting to reread even if the content itself is not startlingly new.

High-quality, inclusive illustrations make this one stand out. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0586-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021


Animated and educational.

A hare and a ground squirrel banter about the differences between related animals that are often confused for one another.

Jack is “no Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail,” but a “H-A-R-E, hare!” Like sheep and goats, or turtles and tortoises, rabbits and hares may look similar, but hares are bigger, their fur changes color in the winter, and they are born with their eyes wide open. As the ground squirrel (not to be mistaken for a chipmunk (even though Jack cheekily calls it “Chippie”) and Jack engage in playful discussion about animals, a sneaky coyote prowls after them through the Sonoran Desert. This picture book conveys the full narrative in spirited, speech-bubbled dialogue set on expressive illustrations of talking animals. Dark outlines around the characters make their shapes pop against the softly blended colors of the desert backgrounds. Snappy back-and-forth paired with repetition and occasional rhyme enhances the story’s appeal as a read-aloud. As the story progresses, the colors of the sky shift from dawn to dusk, providing subtle, visual bookends for the narrative. One page of backmatter offers a quick guide to eight easily confused pairs, and a second turns a subsequent exploration of the book into a seek-and-find of 15 creatures (and one dessert) hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, while most of the creatures from the seek-and-find appear in poses that match the illustrations in the challenge, not all of them are consistently represented. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53.3% of actual size.)

Animated and educational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-12506-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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