THE BUMPY LITTLE PUMPKIN

In this holiday-themed retread of The Biggest, Best Snowman (1998), Little Nell once again “proves” (with plenty of help) that she’s more capable than her two big sisters suppose. Here, she rejects the condescending offers of BIG Sarah and BIG Lizzie, enlisting instead a coterie of forest animals to carve something into the small, lumpy pumpkin she’s chosen. Hillenbrand sets the woodsy tale in a burgeoning pumpkin patch, surrounds tuft-haired, dot-eyed Nell with smiling fauna and closes with a full-page scene of her embracing her candle-lit, misshapen jack-o’-lantern in the wake of BIG Mama’s fulsome praise. Though even younger children may be left wondering how a reindeer’s antler or the beaks of birds could produce such straight, knifelike cuts in Nell’s pumpkin, the empowerment theme easily leaps such logic gaps—as the likes of Ruth Krauss’s Carrot Seed or Pat Hutchins’ Titch have demonstrated for generations of post-toddlers. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-439-52835-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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GINGERBREAD MOUSE

What kind of house would be best for a mouse? This well-equipped rodent has a complete wardrobe, furniture, and even her own sled and backpack. Bratun’s detailed paintings introduce a cute mouse character whose cozy home in a tree is ruined by a falling branch. She decamps to a nearby home and takes up residence in their gingerbread house, making new furnishings out of household materials. On Christmas Eve, Santa provides her with an even better home in a furnished dollhouse, and the little girl of the house leaves her a gingerbread mouse cookie as a present on Christmas morning. Little girls who like miniatures and dollhouses will enjoy this simple story, with three different houses full of tiny details. Includes a recipe for gingerbread cookies. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009080-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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