A bright new addition to the Halloween shelves.

READ REVIEW

SHIVERY SHADES OF HALLOWEEN

Anyone who thought the colors of Halloween were limited to orange and black is obviously mistaken.

“What color is Halloween?” is the question posed to readers when they open this book. The clue is in the brightly hued letters in the word “color.” Each double-page spread features a new color paired with pithy rhyming verse that dramatically describes it. “Halloween is green. // Eerie glow, / Evil grin, / Vile brew, / Clammy skin.” Before the text moves on to the next shade, a nonsensical rhyming phrase sums it up: “Slimy-grimy, queasy-peasy, snotty-rotty / Tinge of green.” Siddals is consistent with the structure, frequently creating chuckle-inducing combinations, while Pickering employs his cinematic talents to make the cast of characters friendly and appealing in a Pixar-like way for young readers. The concept title closes with an impressive spell—the result of taking the last line of each spread and listing them together. “Blaze of orange, / Stain of red, / Blot of black, / Smudge of brown, / Glint of yellow, / Wash of blue, / Shroud of gray, / Wisp of white, / Blotch of purple, / Tinge of green— // Shivery shades of HALLOWEEN!”

A bright new addition to the Halloween shelves. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-36999-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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