Sure to inspire a rousing storytime, this is also likely to encourage readers to explore the world around them.

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JO MACDONALD SAW A POND

A sing-along inspired by the sights and sounds of a pond.

When Jo visits her grandfather’s farm, she observes the plants and animals she finds by the pond, sketching them so she can share them with Old MacDonald later. She first notices the reeds, and the sound they make: “Jo MacDonald saw a pond, / E-I-E-I-O. / And in that pond she saw some reeds, / E-I-E-I-O. / With a swish-swish here.…” The familiar tune starts on page one and never misses a beat, begging kids to participate. Indeed, the rollicking atmosphere during a sharing of this book will likely be in marked contrast to what is happening inside it. As Jo settles in to watch, her quietness and stillness pay off as some animals gradually emerge: fish, frogs, ducks, a bird, a few coons, some deer and a dragonfly. Backmatter includes Jo’s final sketch (delightfully childlike) as well a paragraph about each animal, a list of books about ponds and some activities that can help youngsters be a naturalist like Jo. Observant readers will notice the clever design of the illustrations that hides the last-mentioned animal and the next one within the spread. Bryant’s softly colored watercolor creatures echo Jo’s rosy-cheeked childhood innocence and have just a touch of expression in their faces.

Sure to inspire a rousing storytime, this is also likely to encourage readers to explore the world around them. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58469-150-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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