Cute enough overall, but Cat’s previous outings are stronger titles for little readers.

CAT HAS ONE SHOE

From the Cat and Friends series

When Cat’s shoe goes missing, Cat and Bird take a ride to find it.

Purcell’s skateboarding Cat from Cat’s New Hat (2020) is on another adventure with friend Bird, this time looking for Cat’s missing shoe. As the pair skateboard along, they encounter a few possible shoes that turn out to be not quite right until finally finding the match on a monster’s foot. Purcell offers little readers opportunities to notice similarities and differences. Some shoes are the wrong color, others the wrong size (and the wrong color). This is a nice way to engage readers in the hunt. The story is told in a mix of narrative and speech and thought balloons, the latter containing interactions between Cat and Bird, and it reads just right. Those highlights aside, the text begins with rhythm and rhyme, but it’s not consistently carried out. Cat’s location is very specifically indicated with cacti, but then that seems irrelevant to the adventure. Cat and Bird encounter an owl and snakes before meeting the monster, which readers have been primed to imagine will be another animal thanks to other context clues. While this surprise is surely part of the silliness, it also feels a bit misplaced. In a break from previous, nongendered titles, here Cat is assigned a masculine pronoun.

Cute enough overall, but Cat’s previous outings are stronger titles for little readers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-80036-010-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiny Seed

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.

TRICK OR TREAT, POUT-POUT FISH

From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LLAMA LLAMA TRICK OR TREAT

From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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