THE FAIRYTALE CAKE

The text may run to just a few words per page, but the pictures in this heavily populated outing invite lingering as dozens of European nursery rhyme and folktale characters gather to prepare a huge cake, and then wheel it down the road to the house of a lucky birthday boy. Like Carol Jones’s Gingerbread Man (2002), the Jolly Postman series and the like, this becomes a test of cultural literacy, made even more challenging by the lack of identifying commentary: How many of these figures, rendered in Langley’s informal cartoons as young-looking folks and animals in antique costume, are recognizable? Is that the Knave of Hearts? There’s Bo Peep, searching for her sheep on one page, and finding them on the next. That whiskered officer must be the Grand Old Duke of York, and look, there’s the Gingerbread Boy riding one of a trio of little pigs. All gather at last to wish the starry-eyed lad a “Happy, Happy Birthday!” as he makes ready to blow out the candles. With guests like these, how could it be otherwise? (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-439-68329-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE BIRTHDAY BOX

Patricelli, author of several board books, graduates prematurely from cardboard to paper pages for this cheery birthday monologue narrated by a toddler who gets more play mileage out of a big box than the puppy it holds. Using bright, appealingly smudged colors and very simple, boldly outlined shapes, she depicts a diaper-clad child unwrapping the carton, hugging it in delight, then, accompanied by the puppy soon discovered inside, transforming it into an airplane, a ship and a robot before finally nestling down inside for a nap. The narrative voice is older than the child in the pictures, and next to Antoinette Portis’s Not a Box (2006), and several other takes on the familiar premise, this lacks the emotional range allowed by a longer format. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7636-2825-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more