As the weather turns and young readers yearn to be outside, share this well-designed tale for a most satisfying ending to a...

RUBY'S SLEEPOVER

Ready with her backpack of essential items and trusty vivid imagination, Ruby returns for another adventure (Ruby’s School Walk, 2010)—of the backyard-at-night variety—with thrilling and eventually cozy results.

Ruby’s rhyming narrative is full of infectious enthusiasm: “I’m sleeping with Mai in my tent tonight, / When the moon is full and the stars are bright.” Mai brings a teddy and a book, but Ruby brings her blue egg, colorful beans and two magical rings. Soon camping excitement turns to worry as rumbles and shadows and overactive imaginations produce fears of a fearsome giant, a fire-snorting dragon and pirates from “magical ships that sail from the moon.” Luckily Ruby creatively uses her trove to vanquish the scary threats, and both girls tuck in for a dreamy sleep. While White’s rhythmic text keeps the fantastical action flowing, Latimer uses acrylic paints and watercolor pencils to deftly portray every detail in the girls’ real and make-believe moments. The pinkish-red tent draws the eye on most pages, but readers will pore over the smaller additions that pop in the otherwise darkish palette: a prowling mosquito, a cat prancing on the fence, Ruby’s crocodile slippers, the howling foxes, a perched owl. The final page shows all the creatures and characters cuddled up together along the curves of a crescent moon.

As the weather turns and young readers yearn to be outside, share this well-designed tale for a most satisfying ending to a good night. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84686-593-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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