Pick a pumpkin (and a different book) instead.

FROGGY PICKS A PUMPKIN

From the Froggy series

A class trip to the pumpkin patch is enlivened by a contest to identify and acquire the biggest, smallest, prettiest, ugliest, and best all-around pumpkins.

Froggy’s excited. So excited he makes up a song and teaches it to his friends: “Pumpkins, pumpkins, / muffins and pie! / Pumpkin faces / lighting the sky!” (Readers can sing along for the three reiterations, but they’ll have to make up the tune.) But while children will clearly understand Froggy’s excitement, they will surely call out the unsafe and even mean behaviors exhibited by Froggy and his classmates. On the bus, many students bounce or kneel with no apparent reprimand. When they arrive, Froggy strikes off alone while his classmates await direction from their teacher back on the bus. Travis takes the pumpkin Max had wanted (but couldn’t lift) for his own (“Step aside!” he says, though Travis doesn’t seem too put out), and Froggy rudely leapfrogs over his classmates to get to his choice. Finally, after Froggy just barely reaches the bus with his large pumpkin, his classmates and even his teacher laugh at him and his embarrassment when he drops it and it smashes. (Froggy is as clumsy as ever in this 28th outing, and frankly, the shtick is getting old.) Froggy gets the award for ugliest pumpkin (though he’s shown with an intact one at the end), and all the kids sing on the way home. Remkiewicz’s watercolors reflect the text, bringing out and visually expanding on the lack of cooperation among the students.

Pick a pumpkin (and a different book) instead. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3633-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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