Sure to be a hit at Halloween, Mother’s Day, during a discussion about puns and when the popular question arises, “So what...

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WORKING MUMMIES

In this ode to hardworking mummy mothers, an impressive collection of careers is introduced with deliciously icky details sure to elicit appreciative “eww’s.”

With a palette dominated by saturated purples, greens, oranges and reds, a detailed, fantastical monster city comes to life. Alongside dragons, ghosts and one-eyed monsters, female mummies contribute their various talents to serve their bustling community. Readers meet a diverse cast, including a brave manicurist who specializes in sharpening claws, a doctor who prescribes “coffin syrup” to cure raspy moans, a waitress who serves frightening bowls of “Scream of Wheat,” a realtor who sells haunted dwellings and a dentist who expertly files vampires’ fangs. Each mummy expertly tackles the challenges of her profession whether it be working the graveyard shift or taming a classroom of rambunctious goblins. But in the end, “no matter where the mummies work— / In diners, stores, or schools— / They can’t unwind until they’re home… // To hug their boys and ghouls.” Kozjan obviously had fun creating the full-bleed spreads that successfully extend the humor in Horton’s well-paced, rhyming text. Readers will not mind the message delivered amid the amusing wordplay and clever, elaborate illustrations.

Sure to be a hit at Halloween, Mother’s Day, during a discussion about puns and when the popular question arises, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-38524-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available.

THE LITTLE GHOST WHO WAS A QUILT

A ghost learns to appreciate his differences.

The little ghost protagonist of this title is unusual. He’s a quilt, not a lightweight sheet like his parents and friends. He dislikes being different despite his mom’s reassurance that his ancestors also had unconventional appearances. Halloween makes the little ghost happy, though. He decides to watch trick-or-treaters by draping over a porch chair—but lands on a porch rail instead. A mom accompanying her daughter picks him up, wraps him around her chilly daughter, and brings him home with them! The family likes his looks and comforting warmth, and the little ghost immediately feels better about himself. As soon as he’s able to, he flies out through the chimney and muses happily that this adventure happened only due to his being a quilt. This odd but gently told story conveys the importance of self-respect and acceptance of one’s uniqueness. The delivery of this positive message has something of a heavy-handed feel and is rushed besides. It also isn’t entirely logical: The protagonist could have been a different type of covering; a blanket, for instance, might have enjoyed an identical experience. The soft, pleasing illustrations’ palette of tans, grays, white, black, some touches of color, and, occasionally, white text against black backgrounds suggest isolation, such as the ghost feels about himself. Most humans, including the trick-or-treating mom and daughter, have beige skin. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 66.2% of actual size.)

Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6447-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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