A treat for those who like their tricks on the scary side.

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MOTHER GHOST

NURSERY RHYMES FOR LITTLE MONSTERS

This collection of shivery Mother Goose rhymes is sure to put kids in the Halloween spirit.

Opening with a spin on “Boys and Girls, Come out to Play,” Kolar sets kids up for the 12 to come: “Come with a whoop and come with a call; / Come with brave hearts or not at all.” All the favorites are here: “Mary Had a Little Ghost,” “Zombie Miss Muffet” (which doesn’t end well for the spider), “Sing a Song of Witches,” “Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary,” “Little Boy Drac.” Kolar’s scansion is spot-on with the originals, making them delicious to read aloud: “Frankenstein had a marvelous mind, / And a marvelous mind had he; / He called for some arms and he called for some eyes / And he called for his thunderbolts three.” Not all are creepy, though: “Twinkle, twinkle, lantern Jack, / Grinning orange against the black, / Crouched beneath the window light / Like a watchman in the night.” “Wee Willie Werewolf” rounds out the collection: “Growling at the window, howling to the skies, / ‘Are the monsters all in bed? The sun’s about to rise!’ ” Garrigue’s appropriately spidery illustrations employ a palette that’s heavy on purple and black, and there are lots of creepy details for observant readers to spy. Of the humans/humanoids who are alive, three have brown skin, and the rest are pale; almost none have discernible chins.

A treat for those who like their tricks on the scary side. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-392-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Both playful and enlightening, period.

A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION

A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s “A Punctuation Tale” kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation; goodnight is “cuddled / in quotation marks.” Ensuing poems discuss the comma, the apostrophe, the dash (“A subdued dude / in tweet and text / he signals what / is coming next”), the colon, the exclamation point, and ellipses. Allan Wolf’s poem about this last is called “…” and begins, “The silent ellipsis… / replaces…words missed.” Prince Redcloud’s “Question Marks” is particularly delightful, with the question “Why?” dancing diagonally down in stair steps. The emphatic answer is a repeated “Because!” Other poems pay tribute to quotation marks, the hyphen, and the period. Michele Kruger explains “The Purpose of Parentheses”: “inside a pair / ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) / of slender curves / we’ll hold your few / inserted words.” The final poem is editor Hopkins’ own, “Lines Written for You to Think About” (inspired by Carl Sandburg), urging young readers to write their own verses employing (what else?) punctuation. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself.

Both playful and enlightening, period. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59078-994-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings.

CONSTRUCTION PEOPLE

Fourteen poems capture a skyscraper’s construction, from beginning to completion, in vivid detail.

In the first verse, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, the nascent high-rise, narrating from an empty lot, excitedly contemplates its future: the workers and materials its construction will entail and how it will eventually ascend to lofty heights; in the last, also by Dotlich, the finished structure proudly announces its presence on the “spectacular skyline.” The remaining robust poems, each by a different contributor and presented on double-page spreads, describe the various skilled jobs and professionals involved in a skyscraper’s planning and building and also—take note, vehicle mavens—the trucks required at a construction site. Apart from enjoying jaunty rhymes that scan well and include numerous delightful turns of phrase, readers gain insight into the many workers who collaborate on a new building’s successful, safe skyward climb. Additionally, children will build their vocabularies with nifty words like “glaziers” and “welders.” Onomatopoeia is used to good, dramatic effect where applicable. Lively, appealing artwork grounds this collection: Many of its action-filled illustrations also highlight verticals and horizontals. Women are well represented throughout as skilled, busy professionals in various nonstereotypical or supervisory positions. Workers are depicted with varied skin tones, hairstyles, and racial presentations, including the female Asian architect and her daughter, recurring characters. Endpapers are rich ocher, the color of soil.

A lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-361-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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