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Just the thing for a rainy day lap-sit storytime.

The slightly spooky dark-haired twins of Green’s Seen and Not Heard (2015) return for a moonlit romp.

“Right at the top / of Shiverhawk Hall / live children in pictures / on the wall. / Peeking out, woken gently / by a midsummer moon, / they spot something strange / about their room: / the twins have vanished / from their picture frame!” And so begins a lively midnight game of hide-and-seek and youthful shenanigans. The frolicking seekers are accompanied by a menagerie of critters. A sly black cat, a little brown dog, a trio of white mice, and a pair of owls participate in the fun. The book invites poring over every detail: statues that appear to move, the mice playing their own game of hide-and-seek, and clothing that becomes gradually dirtier as the night wears on. Young audiences will love playing spot-the-twins (those huge white hair bows are hard to miss), who can be seen peering out from their hiding places in each double-page spread. The impish children, dressed in old-world finery, are reminiscent of Sendak’s child characters, with rounded, slightly overlarge heads atop stout bodies. The digitally colored mixed-media artwork of soft and hazy dark blues and purples sets the atmosphere for late-night fun and games in the deliciously creepy setting. The children are all shown as white.

Just the thing for a rainy day lap-sit storytime. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9606-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families.

Pumpkins star in this family-centered early reader.

Sketched in rhyming, easy-to-read couplets, this familiar autumn setting is made even warmer by the sweet  family that is making a trip to the pumpkin farm. “Sunny day. Pack a lunch. / In the treetops squirrels munch.” So begins the story of a black mother and father and their young son and daughter. They find their special pumpkins and return home for carving, just in time for trick-or-treating. Mother and father are shown walking hand in hand or gently guiding their youngsters, who are very excited to pick out the perfect gourd. Read aloud, the predictable rhyme scans well, making this a book for emerging readers to read over and over, gaining confidence each time. The full-color illustrations, full of oranges and yellows, match the words, providing important visual cues. Little ones will laugh when the younger brother initially finds a huge pumpkin and rolls it over the hill like a bowling ball. “Thump! Thump! Thump! Then… / Uh-oh!” Eventually, he finds one just the right size for carving. Children of color are remarkably absent in the easy-reader stacks, so it’s an especially welcome treat to see them in this rural setting. Preschool and kindergarten teachers will want to add this to their collections.

A warm and welcome story for emerging readers and their families. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51341-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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