Too much trick; not enough treat.

PEEK-A-BOOOO!

From the Heart-Felt series

Magsamen adds assurances of unconditional love to the Halloween section of the board-book shelf.

Echoing the message of her I Love You, Little Pumpkin (2017), Magsamen employs many of the same tricks—flaps to lift, costumes to guess at, and a mirror. Here the mirror is partially hidden behind a felt jack-o-lantern–shaped flap on the front cover. Inside, the mirror is at the center of each right-hand page with a monkey, bunny, bumblebee, or astronaut costume drawn around it. Presumably, the child can “try on” each costume by looking in the mirror. However, the drawings are too abstract and become just so much visual noise; most young children will just focus on their own reflections. The pumpkin from the cover is visible on the left side of each spread, decorated with a prominent element of the featured costume—monkey or bunny ears, bumblebee wings, the astronaut’s helmet. Again, it’s far too abstract for children not yet out of the concrete-operations stage and not yet familiar with Halloween traditions. The final spread assures readers, “whatever you decide to be, you’ll always be amazing to me.” All this is illustrated with simply colored illustrations with “stitched” outlines meant to look like felt toys.

Too much trick; not enough treat. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-92798-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Exactly what readers want and expect from the board-book master.

POOKIE'S THANKSGIVING

From the Little Pookie series

Pookie and family celebrate Thanksgiving.

Boynton’s precocious little pig is back in this holiday installment. The family gets ready for Thanksgiving by baking pies, welcoming Nemmy and Boppa for dinner, and sharing gratitude (and pie!). Boynton’s familiar rhyming text and simple, thick-lined illustrations are exactly what readers have come to expect from this series: Pookie is a little silly, the story bounces along, and the artwork is warm and cozy. Though most of the action takes place inside, the passage of day is clear through the window, from daylight to the setting sun. Decorations and a tree with just a few leaves on it indicate the autumnal season. There are two pages where numbers are called out, presented differently from the rest of the typeface (Pookie and their parents prepare apple pie and one pumpkin pie, and there will be five guests at dinner). The only bolded digits are one and five, even though the text does mention that there will be a total of two pies—a stylistic choice that seems to point readers to counting practice but that feels a bit random. Overall, though, this is a worthy new story about one of Boynton’s most beloved characters. True to form, it’s a toddler-friendly read, providing context for the festivities and a sweet representation of gratitude. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Exactly what readers want and expect from the board-book master. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-263-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Predictable text, a slight storyline, and cutouts that toddlers will use to turn the pages make this an acceptable...

BOO!

From the My Little World series

Six bug-eyed, smiling iconic Halloween characters are startled by mysterious shouts of “Boo!” but little ones won't be fazed.

Beginning with “Night owl, night owl, was that you? / Were you the one who shouted BOO?” the same question is repeated on each page, substituting the name of the Halloween symbol pictured. Young readers will soon know the response: “It wasn't me!” The eyes of the owl, cat, pumpkin, witch, spider, and wizard are nesting, die-cut holes of decreasing size. The character from the previous page is included on each double-page spread, providing visual continuity. The next-to-last spread shows all six characters worriedly asking, “Who's hiding out there in the night?” The final page turn reveals the obvious answer: “It's a ghost!” The placement of the word “Boo” changes on each page, which may confuse toddlers who learn to anticipate text through its consistent appearance. Despite the bright, almost garish illustrations in purple, black, orange, green, blue, and pink, the perennially smiling characters are static and flat; both witch and wizard are Caucasian.

Predictable text, a slight storyline, and cutouts that toddlers will use to turn the pages make this an acceptable introduction to the fun of Halloween. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68010-501-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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