THANKSGIVING WITH ME

In high contrast to the rollicking relatives in Cynthia Rylant’s The Relatives Came (1985), this gentle ballad addresses a young girl’s quiet anticipation of Thanksgiving Day as she awaits the arrival of her uncles—her mother’s six brothers. Mother and daughter curl up together and wistfully gaze out the window and down the road, savoring fond memories of a bygone childhood in a house by the sea. The two imagine the feast and the good times about to be had. “Oh the kitchen will quake, the oven will roar, the music will flow from window and door!” Each farmer uncle is defined by a single characteristic’strong or tall, warbling or near-sighted. The lanky, Abe-Lincolnish uncles arrive at last and the promise of singing and raising the planks is certain to be fulfilled. Umbered hillsides and shredded-wheat haystacks boast a pre-industrial agrarian setting matching the slower pace of this reminiscence, calling to mind such classics as Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House (1943), and offering a glimpse of a pastoral, biscuits-and-gravy life among solid farm folk. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-027113-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available.

THE LITTLE GHOST WHO WAS A QUILT

A ghost learns to appreciate his differences.

The little ghost protagonist of this title is unusual. He’s a quilt, not a lightweight sheet like his parents and friends. He dislikes being different despite his mom’s reassurance that his ancestors also had unconventional appearances. Halloween makes the little ghost happy, though. He decides to watch trick-or-treaters by draping over a porch chair—but lands on a porch rail instead. A mom accompanying her daughter picks him up, wraps him around her chilly daughter, and brings him home with them! The family likes his looks and comforting warmth, and the little ghost immediately feels better about himself. As soon as he’s able to, he flies out through the chimney and muses happily that this adventure happened only due to his being a quilt. This odd but gently told story conveys the importance of self-respect and acceptance of one’s uniqueness. The delivery of this positive message has something of a heavy-handed feel and is rushed besides. It also isn’t entirely logical: The protagonist could have been a different type of covering; a blanket, for instance, might have enjoyed an identical experience. The soft, pleasing illustrations’ palette of tans, grays, white, black, some touches of color, and, occasionally, white text against black backgrounds suggest isolation, such as the ghost feels about himself. Most humans, including the trick-or-treating mom and daughter, have beige skin. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 66.2% of actual size.)

Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6447-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN, STINKY FACE

Long-time collaborators McCourt and Moore offer another holiday Stinky Face book. In this one, the usual pattern is repeated: Stinky Face asks his mother a host of “what ifs” concerning everything from people turning into butterflies to people in cat costumes being rescued by faux firefighters. As the story line is so familiar, it’s important that the tale is kept somewhat fresh by Moore’s illustrations, and she comes up with some very creative Halloween outfits for Stinky Face and his friends. The illustrations seem to have grown larger over the series, making it easier to use the book in a storytime situation. One can never have too many Halloween picture books, and readers already familiar with Stinky Face and his imaginative fears will enjoy this one. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-439-77977-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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