Get ready to read this aloud a lot. (Picture book. 3-7)

READ REVIEW

CRANKENSTEIN

Whoa. Be prepared for the intense frustrations, the moody outbursts and the green scowls of Crankenstein.

Berger, who must be writing from direct experience with such a fellow, wryly informs readers what to expect. When offered a huge stack of pancakes with only the last small drop of syrup, Crankenstein’s reply is an angry “MEHHRRRR!!” A similar response comes when it is “time for school” or “when it’s WAY too hot for Popsicles” or “when…it’s bedtime.” Santat brilliantly utilizes Adobe Photoshop to zoom in on every extreme facial expression and clenched fist that conveys the barely contained anger and leads to the eventual unleashing of Crankenstein’s fury. Each setting reveals sly comic elements that both kids and their grown-ups will appreciate. Readers will laugh out loud at the monster’s seemingly over-the-top reactions and relate to the many tantrum-provoking situations. Being forced to swallow gross cough syrup? Waiting forever in line for anything? In the end, only a fellow Crankenstein can jolt him back to normalcy. Perhaps such extreme behavior is truly funny when spotted in another.

Get ready to read this aloud a lot. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-12656-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available.

THE LITTLE GHOST WHO WAS A QUILT

A ghost learns to appreciate his differences.

The little ghost protagonist of this title is unusual. He’s a quilt, not a lightweight sheet like his parents and friends. He dislikes being different despite his mom’s reassurance that his ancestors also had unconventional appearances. Halloween makes the little ghost happy, though. He decides to watch trick-or-treaters by draping over a porch chair—but lands on a porch rail instead. A mom accompanying her daughter picks him up, wraps him around her chilly daughter, and brings him home with them! The family likes his looks and comforting warmth, and the little ghost immediately feels better about himself. As soon as he’s able to, he flies out through the chimney and muses happily that this adventure happened only due to his being a quilt. This odd but gently told story conveys the importance of self-respect and acceptance of one’s uniqueness. The delivery of this positive message has something of a heavy-handed feel and is rushed besides. It also isn’t entirely logical: The protagonist could have been a different type of covering; a blanket, for instance, might have enjoyed an identical experience. The soft, pleasing illustrations’ palette of tans, grays, white, black, some touches of color, and, occasionally, white text against black backgrounds suggest isolation, such as the ghost feels about himself. Most humans, including the trick-or-treating mom and daughter, have beige skin. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 66.2% of actual size.)

Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6447-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more