Landry has carefully crafted a seemingly simple tale about graciousness, generosity and openness to new friendships and...

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TRICK OR TREAT

Oliver the ghost is all prepared for his Halloween party after delivering invitations to his scariest friends—but what will he do when two young trick-or-treaters show up unexpectedly at his door?

In the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready, Oliver mistakenly drops an invitation to his party, and it lands near two human boys who are happy to be so honored. When night falls, Oliver’s guests start to arrive. The witches, the skeletons and the bats are greeted with a “BOO” from Oliver, but “a little cow and a little jack-o’-lantern” arrive and shout “Trick or treat!” Everyone, host and guests alike, is nonplussed. After some awkward moments full of plans to whisper hexes and cast spells, Oliver shouts, “TREAT!” Once welcomed, the two boys enjoy a night of dancing with skeletons, chasing ghosts and riding brooms with witches. With economical wording, flat illustrations executed in pencil and watercolor and clever foreshadowing, the story further impresses by delivering a most satisfactory ending. The morning after Halloween, Oliver discovers an invitation from young Jack inviting him to his birthday party.

Landry has carefully crafted a seemingly simple tale about graciousness, generosity and openness to new friendships and packaged it into what is sure to be a perennial Halloween favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-24969-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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