A joyful celebration of free-range fantasizing.

CHARLIE'S MAGICAL CARNIVAL

Imagination takes reality for a grand ride in this Dutch import via Scotland when Charlie and his mother visit a street carnival.

Waiting for his mom to dig his party hat and balloon out of a storage box, Charlie imagines how silly it would be if grown-up bicycle riders needed training wheels, if people rode elephants instead of cars and lived in trees, if the carnival featured lollipop trees, a lemonade river, and a cake as big as the town square. Lo and behold, once he gets his distracted but game parent outside, all of these fantasies turn out to be true—as Törnqvist shows in a series of crowded, exuberant, single and double gatefolds. These open to reveal scenes filled with life and color, extravagantly costumed carnivalgoers, surreal details, and droll side business. Having ridden the elephants, climbed trees, rowed on the pink river, and chowed down on the humongous cake “until Mama’s dress was tight and Charlie’s tummy was full,” the two make their way home at day’s end, and Charlie snuggles into bed, envisioning “candy ladders and gingerbread jackets,” among further wonders on the morrow. Joining carnival crowds diverse in age, dress, and color, Charlie and his stylishly dressed mother (both black-haired) in some scenes look white but in others are depicted with lightly toned skin.

A joyful celebration of free-range fantasizing. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78250-460-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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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The theme of friendship and loyalty endures in this enjoyable mock-horror tale for new readers.

FLY GUY AND THE FRANKENFLY

From the Fly Guy series , Vol. 13

“It was a dark and stormy night” as series fans find Fly Guy and Buzz hard at work in their 13th adventure.

Buzz and his insect buddy are playing. After an evening of making puzzles, trying on creepy costumes and admiring a drawing Buzz created featuring them both in their frighteningly fun garb, Buzz’s eyes get heavy and he climbs into bed. But Fly Guy is up to something—he is “BIZZY!” Buzz drops off into dreamland…or does he? A couple of page turns reveal Fly Guy on the verge of bringing a gigantic monster to life. A flip of an electrical switch sets the nightmare in motion. “Buzz cried, ‘It’s Frankenfly!’ ” The enormous, green creature responds to Buzz’s shout and shambles over to him. No surprise that Fly Guy comes to Buzz’s rescue just as the monster, more silly than menacing, picks him up. Morning comes with a fall out of bed to reveal the result of the project Fly Guy was determined to finish the previous night. Giggles and grape juice bring this latest installment to a satisfying close. All the while, Arnold’s deftly drawn cartoon expressions comically show the range of emotions as Buzz and Fly Guy experience fear, shock, bewilderment, determination and pride.

The theme of friendship and loyalty endures in this enjoyable mock-horror tale for new readers. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-49328-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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