Not too scary, not too sweet—a pleasant-enough way to get the Halloween party started for older toddlers and young...

HAUNTED HALLOWEEN

A cowboy, a pirate, a witch, Frankenstein’s monster, and a mummy count their way through a slightly scary board book.

Each creature they meet is introduced in a rhyming six-syllable couplet that starts with the spelled-out number but is also preceded by the numeral. The rhymes tell readers which character to count, but the busy spreads are geared to toddlers who’ve moved up from simpler books. Some creatures may also be hard for young children to identify. For instance, the ghosts floating against a dark blue background look like sleek clouds, or perhaps tadpoles, and the eight gargoyles look like a shadowy row of animals with vampire teeth. On that page, the most prominent image is of two smiling witches stirring a cauldron. The counting is interrupted between nine and 10 by a double-page spread of one black cat and one smiling jack-o-lantern with the verse, “Pumpkin-grin, / Goosebump-skin.” It’s fun, but it’s also potentially confusing for young children. Dark tones of purple, orange, and teal evoke the spirit of Halloween. Interspersed die-cut pages hint at the spooky scene to come with the next page turn. The ending is no surprise: “Ten small feet / Trick-or-Treat. / Door swings wide... / Kids inside! / Glad we dared. / We weren’t scared.” The pirate is the only primary character of color.

Not too scary, not too sweet—a pleasant-enough way to get the Halloween party started for older toddlers and young preschoolers . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-04533-8

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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