Far from your everyday Halloween tale.

WHEN PUMPKINS FLY

When Halloween comes to an Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic, some “passengers” arrive concurrently on the last cargo flight in October.

After the school principal hears that plane’s engines, she requests some of its cargo for her pupils: pumpkins, the first ones local kids have seen. The young narrator wonders about this thing in the classroom and what to do with it, but pretty soon the children are carving a face and placing a candle in the pumpkin; afterward, they snack on its insides. The narrator takes the pumpkin home and places it on the porch before dressing up for trick-or-treating. After collecting a sackful of candy, the narrator imagines the tunnaat, “ancient and wise beings” that “live out on the land,” taking his pumpkin that night on one of their regular visits. In the art, Sandland and Lawrence depict a smiling, shadowy being who is clearly thrilled to see the pumpkins. This brief, upbeat Canadian import sets a familiar holiday against a cultural backdrop that rarely sees such fare in books. Young readers south of the Arctic will enjoy seeing how the holiday plays out in the far north, where pumpkins do not grow; those for whom Arctic Halloweens are commonplace will appreciate a story that includes their own customs in the celebration. A guide to the pronunciation of two Inuktitut words used and a website for language resources are included, but there is no glossary. Illustrations feature vivid colors; children’s skin tones are light brown. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 87.2% of actual size.)

Far from your everyday Halloween tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77227-249-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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