Lunch is more delicious when shared with people we love.


From the Stanley series

Stanley the hamster teaches young readers about different types of food and the joy of sharing.

Stanley and his furry friends—mice, moles, and a chipmunk, among others—go to market to stock up on food. The affable critters browse a variety of goods, snacks, and beverages, and then Stanley treats his brother to a picnic. The lovingly rendered animal characters and bustling market scenes have an undeniable charm. Stanley and his friends have rather European tastes, which isn’t surprising; author/illustrator Bee resides in England. Stanley buys a baguette and a loaf of brown bread, with cheese to go with them. Then he’s off to buy fruits, snacks (potato chips, crackers, and jelly), and some of “Charlie’s homemade scones and muffins,” which, fortunately, “taste better than they look.” Stanley’s final purchases are lemonade and cocoa powder. At home, Stanley makes sandwiches and hot chocolate, puts the lemonade in a thermos, and loads up his lunchbox. Its best feature is that it holds enough for two. Today, Stanley shares lunch with his brother, Herbert, who, amusingly, looks exactly like Stanley, with the addition of a waxed mustache. Culturally, the European market stalls and foods won’t resonate with all children. Similarly, in this time of rising wealth inequality and food insecurity, even the sense of plenty could sting those with fewer choices. Nevertheless, Stanley and his anthropomorphized friends have dignity, good humor, and a solid lesson for children. In companion title Stanley’s Toy Box, Stanley carries the titular container to the park for a day of play with his pals.

Lunch is more delicious when shared with people we love. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-283-3

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.


One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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