Many readers will demand further adventures—or imagine them for themselves. The last page will get them started. Spoiler...

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SHARK DETECTIVE!

The moral of this story is: dreams can come true.

People often wonder whether animals dream. Shark keeps dreaming about becoming a detective. The phrase “My hero!” shows up in his dreams often enough that, when he’s wide awake, he dons a deerstalker, grabs a magnifying glass, and starts searching for a missing kitten. The flaw in his plan becomes obvious the first time he says, “Excuse me, sir! Have you seen this kitty?” No one trusts a shark. This may be a parable for the human condition. Or maybe Olien just likes drawing a shark in a deerstalker. Her illustrations are spare but delightful. In one picture, the shark is wearing a nightcap and snacking on potato chips. A hotel sign is only partly visible through the window, so it just says “HOT.” It’s hard to explain quite why that’s funny, but it is. And the story is strangely inspirational: if a shark and a kitten can get along, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us. The book occasionally seems slight, but slight isn’t always a bad thing; it has exactly as much story as it needs.

Many readers will demand further adventures—or imagine them for themselves. The last page will get them started. Spoiler alert: the cat’s name is Watson. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-235714-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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