A witch confronts her greatest fear: helpful human children in perky uniforms.

Green-skinned and with a big pointy hat cocked stylishly over her one huge eye, the Cyclops Witch fearlessly takes on winged monkeys and other creatures—but when a diverse quartet of smiling young scouts appears on her porch one night, she “blitzed out her back window, running like mad. / ‘Gah! Children!’ she shrieked. ‘This is so very bad!’ ” Undeterred by her efforts to leave them in the clutches of a mothman, a vampire, or even a sea monster (“What a world!” she moans), her pursuers at last catch up and introduce themselves as Heebie-Jeebies Maria, Germaine, Hector, and Latasha: “We travel the world, over mountain, sea and prairie, / to help others overcome the things they find scary.” Instantly cured, the witch helps the winged monkeys get over their fear of water and other good deeds, thus earning a sash and tiara of her very own. The meter and rhyme may be, to say the least, undisciplined (“Maria helped the hobgoblin be cool around fire, / and with Germaine’s help, exercising’s fun for Vampire”), but, cribbing freely from a certain classic movie, the Sullivan twins dish up a yarn replete with cute monsters, cuter children, an unusually memorable protagonist, and buckets of fluffy uplift.

Readers will melt. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948931-00-7

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Hazy Dell Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...


A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A close encounter of the best kind.


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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