Share this slightly silly yet decidedly creepy story about haunted pictures in a spooky house at Halloween or anytime.

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SEEN AND NOT HEARD

Welcome to Shiverhawk, a big, stately home where all items are arranged just so, including the portraits of children, who are, as most people know, better seen and not heard—till sundown.

“When the night is whispering and the moon is high, / when there’s no one to see them, when there’s no one to spy, / carefully they creep, nice and quiet… // and the Shiverhawk children all run RIOT!” Dressed in finery typical of period dramas, the cherub-faced children descend from their poised perfection to gallop through the house with gusto. Most of the kids indulge in messy sweets in the kitchen, embellish the hallway portraits with “pots of treacly goo,” and boisterously bounce on the well-appointed bed. But the DeVillechild girls with straight dark hair are “PERFECT ANGELS” and show up in each spread, calmly observing the mayhem with eerily expressionless faces. Once “the moon is getting tired,” the pack of young ones race back to their frames before sunrise, where they “stay still and sweet and good, / just as children should.” Green neatly balances her slightly shivery atmosphere with rollicking high jinks. The gray tones of the graphite and charcoal illustrations help set the mood of an old, neglected estate where everything is forgotten and dusty.

Share this slightly silly yet decidedly creepy story about haunted pictures in a spooky house at Halloween or anytime. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7612-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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