A little pink suitcase spells mischief for an adventurous young witch.

Lizzy lives in a cozy tree house with her devoted striped cat. She's just about ready for bed when a "CLUNK! PLUNK!" outside piques her curiosity. In front of her door she finds a shiny pink suitcase. She brings it in and tries to open it with a nifty spell. Instead, everything in her house—oven door, cabinets, cake tin—flies open; the suitcase remains firmly locked. Lizzy sets out on her broom to the Witch Hospital to unravel this mystery. She shows the suitcase to the Witch Doctor, but when she repeats her spell, everything in the hospital room goes flying. (Page flaps give readers two views of the room, before and after.) A visit to the Witch Train Station yields a similar result. Lizzy flies to an open field and, with her cat, thinks and thinks. What if she tries a spell to keep the case firmly closed? This proves to be the magic touch, leading to more flap surprises for readers and an invitation to Witch School, where Clever Lizzy can now hone her craft. Baeten's magical adventure has a bit of savvy; it's whimsical without being cloying. Fossey's attractive illustrations seem bathed in moonlight, and the flaps and a variety of page layouts add more appeal.

Beguiling. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4079-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...


From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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A potential gift for fans of the contributors’ earlier work.


A text-heavy, joke-filled monograph about a dreaded bestowal.

In this meta text, an unseen narrator gripes about everything they wish they had received as a present, including a dog and a skateboard. “Now I feel like I have to read it,” the narrator grumps about their book gift. In subsequent spreads, they express their frustration. Sensitive bibliophiles beware: The narrator is ruthless in their scorn of giving books as presents. Some may tire of the message, repeated page after page in different ways: “Look, I’m a doer, not a reader,” one page reads, accompanied by an image of a muscled arm. The narrator makes references to clogging the toilet with homemade slime (“I told them it most definitely wasn’t me”)—a moment that will appeal to older kids who can grasp and revel in the humor. Human skin is shown as printer paper white, tan, and blue. Layouts are boisterous yet uncluttered, using text in various sizes, colors, and fonts. Pleasant near-pastel yellow, blue, and purple back up goofy illustrations, sure to draw interest even if the quips go over younger kids’ heads. Some elements, like the desire to receive X-ray vision as a present, will resonate widely with the target audience, though the story largely treads similar ground as Greenfield and Lowery’s I Don’t Want To Read This Book (2021). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A potential gift for fans of the contributors’ earlier work. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46236-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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