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FRANKENSTEIN

Whether young readers recognize the relationship to the Parisian version or not, adults will appreciate the clever yet silly...

Just in time for Halloween, Walton and Hale (Twelve Bots of Christmas, 2010) combine their talents to become “Ludworst Bemonster,” author of a droll parody of Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline.

Mimicking the rhyme and pacing of the beloved classic, they introduce readers to “twelve ugly monsters. / In two crooked lines, they bonked their heads, / pulled out their teeth, / and wet their beds.” It will surprise no one to learn that the “ugliest one was Frankenstein. / He scared people out of their socks. / He could even frighten rocks.” He proves particularly challenging to Miss Devel, who late one night finds the green monster without his head. Off he goes with Dr. Bone in a horse-skeleton–drawn hearse. When the monstrous menagerie visits him at the laboratory, most “eeeeew”-inducing are the “two huge new screws” on Frankenstein’s neck. The tale leaves Miss Devel to find the remaining rambunctious monsters completely silent…because “Each had lost his head!” The illustrations have traded sunny yellow for pumpkin orange backgrounds and make comically sly allusions to the original title.

Whether young readers recognize the relationship to the Parisian version or not, adults will appreciate the clever yet silly send-up. Most children, however, will see this as just another funny monster book. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-55366-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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HOW TO CATCH A WITCH

Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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