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In jaunty rhyme, one witch gathers up a fish tail from two cats, a blackbird’s claw from three scarecrows, and similarly appetizing ingredients from similarly iconic ookie-spookies, up to the spider’s soup donated by ten werewolves. Why? To concoct a “gruesome stew,” for her party, of course, to which she proceeds to invite each contributor in descending order—note the skeletal arms holding bat-delivered invitations from their graves. Schindler marks the festive occasion with scenes of capering, precisely detailed skeletons, vampires, Gorey-like ghosts, and similarly risky friends; young readers may be pleased—or not—to learn that they’ve “saved the last bowl just for . . . YOU!” The monster-ridden cast and ghoulish goulash will elicit choruses of delighted “Eeeewwwwws!” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8027-8860-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2003

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Scotton makes a stylish debut with this tale of a sleepless sheep—depicted as a blocky, pop-eyed, very soft-looking woolly with a skinny striped nightcap of unusual length—trying everything, from stripping down to his spotted shorts to counting all six hundred million billion and ten stars, twice, in an effort to doze off. Not even counting sheep . . . well, actually, that does work, once he counts himself. Dawn finds him tucked beneath a rather-too-small quilt while the rest of his flock rises to bathe, brush and riffle through the Daily Bleat. Russell doesn’t have quite the big personality of Ian Falconer’s Olivia, but more sophisticated fans of the precocious piglet will find in this art the same sort of daffy urbanity. Quite a contrast to the usual run of ovine-driven snoozers, like Phyllis Root’s Ten Sleepy Sheep, illustrated by Susan Gaber (2004). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-059848-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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The creators of Punctuation Takes a Vacation (2003) sentence readers to a good time with this follow-up. Feeling left out after the children in Mr. Wright’s class thunder outside for a Field Day, the nouns and verbs left in the classroom decide to organize events of their own. But having chosen like parts of speech for partners—“Glue, Markers and Tape stuck together. Shout wanted to be with Cheer. So did Chew and Eat.”—it quickly becomes apparent that as opposing teams they can’t actually do anything. Depicting the Nouns as objects and the Verbs as hyperactive v-shaped figures, Rowe creates a set of high-energy scenes, climaxing in a Tug of Words and other contests once the participants figure out that they’ll work better mixed rather than matched. This playful introduction to words recalls Ruth Heller’s Kites Sail High (1998) and Merry-Go-Round (1990) for liveliness, and closes with several simple exercises and games to get children into the act. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2006

ISBN: 0-8234-1982-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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