A stronger message and more coherent magic would have made this charming story even more appealing.

READ REVIEW

MOVING HOUSE

This contemporary eco-fable suffers from a lack of internal logic, but the positive message and attractive retro artwork may still find favor with progressive parents.

Joey and Chloe, two round-eyed, round-headed tykes, arrive home one day to find their parents packing. The fog in Foggytown, they say, has gotten too thick, and it’s time to move. Unhappy at the prospect of leaving their beloved home, Chloe and Joey both wish that the house could come with them—and, in a surreal sequence, it does. The house’s friends, including the schoolhouse, library and a row of friendly streetlights come along. The animated house is a particularly appealing character with black arms and legs and bright-red paint that stands out well against the generally grey and blue backgrounds. Siegel’s artwork varies from smoky sepia-toned silhouettes to crisply drawn vignettes to cartoon-style full-color double-page spreads. The text, while lengthy and occasionally didactic, has a pleasing flow and offers several lovely images, including “the warm spot on the kitchen floor where we drink our milks every morning” and the “long vrooming hallway.” What’s less effective is the characterization of the factory’s output as “fog” rather than smog, the family’s decision to move away from the problem not solve it and the arbitrariness of the house’s sudden mobility.

A stronger message and more coherent magic would have made this charming story even more appealing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-635-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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