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CACKLE COOK’S MONSTER STEW

Wolff manages to be gross without getting nauseating in this witch’s brew of ABC’s. Cackle Cook is throwing together her famous stew when she discovers she is missing some key ingredients, the very stuff to make it supremely repugnant. She’ll need that ancient ape’s short armpit hair and that half-inch square of big brown bear. She sends her ghoulish pal Igor to the store—he hates shopping—time and again to get all the goods: “One hobgoblin’s knobby nose / nine or ten iguana toes / Three large jars of jellyfish jelly / A piece of pocket from a kangaroo belly.” Schindler does a fine job with the ingredients, with just the right bilious colors, and his population of witches and ogres are comfortably spooky. When Igor returns with the last of the fixings—“The hairy hump from the neck of a yak / A dusty clump from a zombie’s back” (his own)—he dances a little jig, Cackle Cook judges the stew a success (“YYUUCCKK!!” she shouted. “It’s just right!”), and the doors to her world-famous restaurant are thrown open to a long line of waiting monsters. Igor first, though; he may hate shopping, but he does like eating. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-307-10682-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How To Catch… series

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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VALENTINE'S DAY, HERE I COME!

From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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