MERRY CHRISTMAS, STINKY FACE

McCourt and Moore (It’s Time for School, Stinky Face, 2000, etc.) continue their collaborative examination of one imaginative little boy with a major case of the “what-if’s,” the fourth in the successful series. This time the little boy called Stinky Face (who is actually quite sweet and clean) focuses his questions to his patient mother on the approaching Christmas holiday. The potential problems posed by Stinky Face begin realistically (too much snow, a melting snowman) and escalate rapidly into more fanciful fretfulness revolving around Santa’s imminent visit. Each question follows a “But what if . . . ” pattern, smoothly answered by the boy’s creative mother, who has a quick-witted, soothing solution for any worry, just like the mother rabbit in The Runaway Bunny. Moore’s lighthearted illustrations ground these worried musings in reality, with believable images that will help to explain some of unusual ideas (a coat rack Christmas tree, a reindeer with its antlers stuck in overhanging branches). One delightful product of Stinky Face’s imagination is the friendly Christmasaurus, a holly-covered dinosaur who stops by to help put lights on the house. What if the Christmasaurus came back for another visit in the next story? And what if she and Stinky Face took off in Santa’s sleigh? And what if they crash-landed in the Easter Bunny’s egg-painting factory? Just ask Stinky Face’s mom. She’ll come up with some clever solution. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8167-7468-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Troll

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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