A feather-light tribute to finding common ground—or make that common air space.

READ REVIEW

THE TREE

A tree in a deep rural clearing proves to be a small village in jeopardy.

On a piece of land for sale deep in the rolling, uninhabited hills of somewhere, there grows a fine evergreen, which stands tall on recto. On verso, readers see a couple (maybe up to six) words in size 72 font: “A tree, // a bird’s nest,” and so on as pages turn until readers have met the owls, the squirrels, and the rabbits who burrow down in the tree’s roots. Along comes a white couple, with blueprints. Red flag. The plot is small, and the tree stands in the middle of it. Out comes the two-man saw (though in this case it is a one-man-one-woman saw), until the man and woman realize there is a significant community above (and below, knowing rabbits). Evident in the illustrations but not explicit in the text, the plans are changed. (Layton has given the illustrations an old-time feel, the pen-and-wash pictures by turns moody, loose, and substantial.) Suddenly the tree is bandaged, the various animal abodes repaired, and a balconied treehouse now sits snugly about halfway up. Harmony is not brain surgery, Layton’s story suggests; there are no squatters in nature, just those who inhabit.

A feather-light tribute to finding common ground—or make that common air space. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8952-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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