Tasty and homegrown, this hits a strange and specific trifecta: a lightly bilingual book that feels inclusive not only for...

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ZOMBIES DON'T EAT VEGGIES!

A young boy who happens to be undead reveals himself as a vegetarian to parents who are not about to stop eating people parts.

Mo, a greenish, bespectacled kid, has an idea to share his love of the veggies he grows in secret: He’ll make a bloody-looking gazpacho, one that might fool mom and dad into appreciating tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, and cilantro. The gambit fails. But even if the rotting folks can’t accept heaps of vegetables in their diet, they can learn to honor their son’s dietary desires. That’s an admirable message, but what really creeps up on readers is the Laceras’ deep sense of fun. Gravestone puns are to be expected, but to sneak in a reference to Jonathan Saffron Gore hits all the right geek buttons, at least for the kind of parent who’d gravitate to a zombie-themed picture book. And while understated, the family’s effortless use of occasional Spanish phrases (“arm-panadas”!) in a primarily English-speaking household feels true. The Spanish-language version (translated by Yanitzia Canetti) has its own specific jokes and reads just as smart and funny. The artwork throughout manages to make zombie-grown produce look appealing.

Tasty and homegrown, this hits a strange and specific trifecta: a lightly bilingual book that feels inclusive not only for Latinx kids, but also for different eaters and for those who aren’t afraid of gory, monster-themed humor. (recipes) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62014-794-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Nicely juxtaposes the negative what-ifs with a great list of positives and just may lead nervous readers to do the same.

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH BIGFOOT

Bigfoot’s body and feet may be larger than most, but his worries, though they feel monumental to him, will be familiar to grade schoolers.

Sure, back-to-school shopping for Bigfoot is a royal pain. Even the big-and-tall store doesn’t have clothes that fit, and forget about buying shoes in a regular store—and a haircut takes the entire day when you are covered in the stuff. But his what-ifs will not be new to kids: what if the bus doesn’t stop for him? What if he makes a mistake at lunch? His imaginative scenarios are enough for him to quit school before it even starts. But then he thinks of all the things about school he would miss—the best teacher in school, studying mythological creatures, his friends—and some positive possibilities: a field trip, art projects. It’s enough to change his mind again, and the last page sees Bigfoot and his much-smaller friends entering the school. Pressler’s seemingly digital illustrations will have readers in stitches as they see Bigfoot in the dressing room in his orange-and-pink polka-dot undies or watch as a kid almost drowns in all the hair on the floor at the barber shop. And for cryptozoology-savvy adults, there’s the page about Bigfoot’s school-picture-day worry: “What if I can’t stand still for class pictures? AGAIN!”

Nicely juxtaposes the negative what-ifs with a great list of positives and just may lead nervous readers to do the same. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-85973-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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