There’s lots to love here.


From the Gossie & Friends series

A little wintery weather can’t dampen these goslings’ love of water.

As the title says, Ruby and Rufus, two anthropomorphic goslings, “love the water!” After being introduced on facing pages, Ruby, sporting a red bathing cap with white spots, and Rufus, a red-and-white–striped one, cavort in the pond. Ruby swan dives, and Rufus back dives. They swim all day, in all kinds of weather. The illustrations, like the text, are spare, with blue gouache restrained by a thin ink line at the bottoms of the pages to indicate water and lots of open, white space on the upper two-thirds. Props, including a striped inner tube and environmental details, such as falling leaves to show windy weather, embellish the changing scenes, and other small creatures create a sense of conviviality amid the pond setting. A shift at the middle of the book shows the goslings scampering across a light green surface with snow falling around them. The facing page reads “The water is frozen!” and shows a mottled blue surface. After testing the ice, Ruby and Rufus find just as many ways to enjoy it as they did their pond in warmer weather—sliding, tubing, and gliding across its surface. A closing image of a snow-gosling with a carrot beak is the cherry on top of this sweet avian friendship story.

There’s lots to love here. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-547-86760-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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


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.


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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