Droll and decidedly un-ordinary.

NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY

A humorous look at problem-solving and monotony.

Peter, a tot with white skin and a mop of scribbly, brown hair, is bored. Usually he has fun with his friend Devin (who’s also white), but lately everything they do has gotten stale. At one point, he breaks: “Enough!…This is SUPER BORING! I’m out of HERE!” He stomps home and tries to think of other things he can do that would be more fun. He decides to celebrate a different holiday every day. He even devises his own rating system. There is the nine-star National Ice-Cream Sandwich Day and National Lighthouse Day (a paltry two). National Underwear Day (in which underwear is worn—all over) is “an unexpected 8 stars.” But when he wakes up one morning to find out there is “NO HOLIDAY,” he must rethink his plan. What if he makes up a holiday instead? National Ride Your Bike With No Hands Day starts strong but doesn’t go well (nor as badly as it might have). Neither does combining National Squirrel Appreciation Day with National Bubble Bath Day (although the squirrels have a blast). Perhaps a day can just be ordinary, and that can be fun too. Bakos’ playful illustrations amp up the silliness of this very child-friendly premise. Readers may note that the passage of time seems off, however. When he reunites with Devin, an offhand apology, “Sorry about how I acted the other day,” seems incongruent with how many holidays he must have celebrated.

Droll and decidedly un-ordinary. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9240-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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