Something for the lumber and lumberjack lovers.

FRED & THE LUMBERJACK

Fred has built his perfect den—but something’s missing.

The toothy beaver with a red-plaid trapper hat has thought of everything: bunk beds, video games, a water slide, and a table for two. But something is not quite right. When a chainsaw-wielding, red-plaid-coat–wearing lumberjack roars into his life with power and precision, Fred realizes it’s not what he was missing but whom. Now if he can only impress the pale-skinned, blonde-tressed lumberjack girl without ruining everything….Weinberg’s energetic pencil, watercolor, and digital blend brings vigor and whimsy to this fairly straightforward friendship story. It offers humor and a bit of context to what is otherwise a brief but wildly melodramatic moment in the text (“FRED IS DOOMED!”). Fortunately for Fred, shared interests and contrition resolve the relatively thin conflict and result in more building and playing and planning together. Implications for and impacts on readers are likely minimal—one can’t help but think that this particular story might have resonated more deeply in a recently passed, more lumberjack-crazed cultural moment. Still, the endpapers reference the Catskills, where perhaps lumber-themed lore is always en vogue, so this one may find its readership yet.

Something for the lumber and lumberjack lovers. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2983-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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