A gift of a picture book that’s at once nostalgic and fresh.

WHEN'S MY BIRTHDAY?

A picture book to celebrate.

Fogliano is at her best here, with text reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow’s, Margaret Wise Brown’s, and Ruth Krauss’ writing. Her spare, singsong verse pairs perfectly with Robinson’s naïve style expressed in joyful, retro, multimedia collage. The striking, narrow portrait layout recalls Marc Simont’s Caldecott-winning A Tree Is Nice, but this picture book is much more than nice. It’s splendid. Illustrations feature an ever shifting multiracial cast of children, not to mention cakes, balloons, wrapped gifts, and markers of changing seasons, to accompany and expand upon the text. Whimsical details, such as the inclusion of a giraffe and a sloth as party guests in the illustrations, add levity and surprise. The repeated refrain—“when’s my birthday? / where’s my birthday? / how many days until / my birthday?”—lends cohesion to the book despite the lack of a linear textual narrative. One little girl with straight black hair, olive skin, and large dark eyes (who looks a bit like Robinson’s protagonist from The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, written by Justin Roberts, 2014) appears multiple times, signaling that she is the one anticipating her birthday. The antepenultimate spread shows her losing a fight against sleep as she waits for her birthday to arrive the next morning, and the closing page turns when the big day arrives are “happy happy!” indeed.

A gift of a picture book that’s at once nostalgic and fresh. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-293-4

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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