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WHAT’S THE TIME, GRANDMA WOLF?

Suspense looms in the air as young woodland creatures get closer and closer to big bad Grandma Wolf until it looks like their collective gooses may be cooked. Word spreads in the forest (a very lovely and lush forest as portrayed in Brown’s watercolors) that a bad old hairy wolf is living nearby. A company of animals puts aside their trepidation and goes to investigate. From outside the wolf’s house, they can see her asleep in her bed. Piglet calls out, “What’s the time, Grandma Wolf?” She replies that it’s time to get up. Each creature in turn asks the time, and each time they take a step closer to the wolf, as she scrubs the cooking pot, fetches water, sets it to boil, until finally they are very close and Grandma Wolf cries out, “Dinnertime!” The animals stand frozen, like fawns caught in the beam of a headlight, but Grandma’s only ready to serve them a vegetable stew and read them a story—guess which one. Young readers will feel a note of pleasing apprehension—mostly from Grandma’s rack of conspicuous fangs—but never enough to stir terror. The repetitions may even provoke readers to chime in, and Brown (The Scarecrow’s Hat, p. 179, etc.) has provided the rules for a game—“What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?”—that kids can play on their own. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56145-250-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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

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 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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ANIMAL SHAPES

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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