CHARLIE'S MAGICAL CARNIVAL

A joyful celebration of free-range fantasizing.

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 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

FROG AND BALL

From the I Like To Read Comics series

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages.

Never underestimate the chaotic fun that magic and an angry bouncing ball can create.

When Frog goes to the library, he borrows a book on magic. He then heads to a nearby park to read up on the skills necessary to becoming “a great magician.” Suddenly, a deflated yellow ball lands with a “Thud!” at his feet. Although he flexes his new magician muscles, Frog’s spells fall as flat as the ball. But when Frog shouts “Phooey!” and kicks the ball away, it inflates to become a big, angry ball. The ball begins to chase Frog, so he seeks shelter in the library—and Frog and ball turn the library’s usual calm into chaos. The cartoon chase crescendos. The ball bounces into the middle of a game of chess, interrupts a puppet show, and crashes into walls and bookcases. Staying just one bounce ahead, Frog runs, hides, grabs a ride on a book cart, and scatters books and papers as he slides across the library furniture before an alligator patron catches the ball and kicks it out the library door. But that’s not the end of the ball….Caple’s tidy panels and pastel-hued cartoons make a surprisingly effective setting for the slapstick, which should have young readers giggling. Simple sentences—often just subject and verb—with lots of repetition propel the action. Frog’s nonsense-word spells (“Poof Wiffle, Bop Bip!”) are both funny and excellent practice in phonetics. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4341-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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