Yet another outing that will have readers empathizing with and maybe emulating Love Monster.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE SCARY SOMETHING

From the Love Monster series

The lovable red monster is back, this time facing something all young children will find familiar: nighttime noise fears.

Even though it’s “past bedtime o’clock” in Cutesville and Love Monster has gone through his bedtime routine, he’s still awake, and the harder he tries to sleep, “the later and darker and spookier it got.” (His clock marvelously marks off, at 12, 3, 6, and 9 respectively, “Bedtime,” “Late,” “Dark,” and “Spooky.”) He can hear the clock ticking, the wind in the leaves, the owls. But what’s that rustle? It seems to move from the yard to downstairs, and the bang certainly means that it has gotten inside! Now he can hear its “terrible, twisterly toenails” on the floor, then coming up the stairs. Love Monster just can’t take it anymore. “Somehow, hiding from THE SOMETHING outside…got harder than finding something brave INSIDE.” A fling of the covers and a flick of the flashlight reveal another Cutesville resident who couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to be alone. Snuggles, conquering fears, and, finally, sleep bring the night to a close. Bright’s text and her illustrations perfectly capture the terrifying, compounding fear of being alone at night, hearing an unfamiliar noise, and jumping to wild conclusions. The mostly full-page spreads play up Love Monster’s fears and feelings, and Bright uses light and darkness to good effect.

Yet another outing that will have readers empathizing with and maybe emulating Love Monster. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-34691-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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