TUCK’S HAUNTED HOUSE

Weston’s piggy siblings, Tuck and Bunny (Tuck in the Pool, 1995), finally return for a humorous Halloween escapade. Tuck decides to transform his family garage into a Haunted House for his friends. For maximum chills, the young pig arranges a maze of scary exhibits to titillate his visitors. In the midst of preparing the Ancient Mummy, Tuck’s Tunnel of Doom, and the Icky Drippy Forest, the irrepressible Bunny (who insists on helping) interrupts him. However, Bunny’s extravagant exuberance irritates Tuck, who, in pursuit of perfection, refuses Bunny’s assistance and banishes her to the corner. When his friends arrive, Tuck promptly forgets about the now-sleeping Bunny, who awakens from her slumber to give the party its most hair-raising and hilarious moments. Weston blends just the right amount of thrills and humor into this lighthearted tale. Observation of Tuck’s preparations allows readers to experience the excitement of the haunted house without the fright, revealing such mysteries as Ghouls’ Eyeballs—peeled grapes—and the Cauldron of Worms with Evil Monster Baby—Bunny’s doll stuffed in a pot of noodles. The droll watercolor-and-pencil illustrations further dispel any lingering anxieties, providing clues for the savvy reader as to the identity of the shrieking waif who startles Tuck and friends. Slapstick comedy on scale for pint-sized readers, fans will rejoice in this follow-up tale featuring the zany antics of this inimitable piglet pair. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-15966-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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