THE PERFECTLY HORRIBLE HALLOWEEN

Arnold’s Halloween plans have been reduced to smoldering ruins, but a piece of quick thinking and a handy drop cloth allow him to rise like a phoenix in Poydar’s gladdening doff of the cap to young imaginations. Arnold’s all set to bag the scariest-of-all prize at his school’s Halloween party. He’s brought a pirate costume complete with eye patch, bushy eyebrows, and a tarantula tattoo—or has he? Since the class won’t be putting their costumes on until the end of the day, and since Arnold is so excited about the sheer fabulousness of his pirate rig, he goes to his locker to steal a peek at it. Shiver his timbers, it’s not there. Then he remembers leaving it on the bus that morning. A pall is cast over his day. When the other children start to get into their costumes, Arnold crawls under a drop cloth the class used when painting a mural. It doesn’t take long for the teacher to miss Arnold: “He’s disappeared,” says one kid. “He’s a ghost,” suggests another. A light switches on in Arnold’s attic. Slowly the drop cloth begins to move, then rises and swirls in a most startling way, leaving no doubt who’s won the scariest prize. As in her other work (Mailbox Magic, 2000, etc.), Poydar supplies an irresistible buoyancy. There’s a quiet optimism that finds expression both in the well-paced, encouraging narrative, and in the agile illustrations. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1592-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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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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Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed...

TURKEY'S EGGCELLENT EASTER

From the Turkey Trouble series

The fourth entry in the Turkey Trouble series finds Turkey and his animal friends attending a children’s Easter egg hunt at a park next to Turkey’s farm.

Turkey and his pals want to win an “eggstraspecial” prize at the egg hunt, but the event is only for children—not animals. So the group of animal friends decides to attend the egg hunt in disguise and treat their adventure as a “secret mission.” Their disguises include dark glasses and costumes suggesting a rabbit, a bee, and a bunch of daffodils, but each attempt to participate in the egg hunt is rebuffed by the human attendees. The animals work together to create a large, egg-shaped costume for Turkey from a wicker basket, and Turkey and the boy who finds him in egg mode both win special prizes. Turkey shares his prize of a huge, jelly-bean–topped pizza with all his animal buddies. The mildly humorous story has funny animal characters, inventive action, and lots of puns incorporating “egg” into other words. Cartoon-style watercolor-and-pencil illustrations add to the humor with amusing animal expressions and the ongoing series theme of silly costumes. Several of the children at the egg hunt are children of color; the other human characters present white.

Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed series. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4037-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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