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

READ REVIEW

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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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride.

IT'S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE

For one special month, George accompanies a young friend through fasts, feasts, and good works at the mosque.

Such headers as “Waiting for Sunset” and “Sharing with Others,” along with glimpses of stars and crescents in the background and a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, offer oblique references to some basic themes and symbols, but Ramadan’s purpose, many of its practices, and even the word “Muslim” go unmentioned in this tabbed board book. Khan’s rhyme lumbers along (“George can’t wait for tomorrow, / When the month of Ramadan will start. / It’s a special time of year for his friends, / And George is going to take part!”). Meanwhile, Young plugs George and the Man in the Yellow Hat into scenes with Kareem, his father, and his hijab-wearing mother. (Kareem and his dad appear to be black; his mother is lighter-skinned.) They make cookies, gather with friends at sunset to break their daily fast and pray (offstage), then enjoy “Kabobs, curry, veggies, and rice” with chocolate-dipped bananas for dessert. At the mosque, George helps Kareem make food baskets and tries to pass out the racked shoes until an imam gently stops him. Finally, beneath a thin crescent moon at month’s end, George gets a new vest (and the Man a yellow fez) for the celebration of Eid.

A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-65226-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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