Just right for sharing with neighbors this October—either the tale or the (real) recipe that follows, or maybe both.

BONE SOUP

A SPOOKY, TASTY TALE

“Stone Soup” gets a Halloween remake.

Three hungry witches, finding only a dry bone in the cupboard, take their cauldron door to door collecting ingredients for their bone soup. Both the neighbors, who are initially suspicious of the witches, and their additions to the pot will be unfamiliar to children used to grandma’s chicken soup: A ghost contributes a giant’s eye; a ghoul brings a lizard’s tail; a werewolf adds old toenails. The beguiling smell attracts more and more creatures, and as their hunger increases, their patience grows thin: They will not put up with any tricks from the witches. (Capucilli’s wordplay here is a delight: “ ‘Let’s wrap this up now,’ mumbled the mummy. / ‘Don’t rattle me further,’ clattered the skeleton.”) Just as it looks as if the witches will be part of the soup, a monster child saves the day, and bone soup is shared and enjoyed by all. Knight’s illustrations, made with charcoal and pencils and colored digitally, have just the right mix of creepy and humorous, treading the line between scary and fun. His palette is suitably Halloween-y.

Just right for sharing with neighbors this October—either the tale or the (real) recipe that follows, or maybe both. (author’s note) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8608-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard.

THE HALLOWEEN TREE

A grouchy sapling on a Christmas tree farm finds that there are better things than lights and decorations for its branches.

A Grinch among the other trees on the farm is determined never to become a sappy Christmas tree—and never to leave its spot. Its determination makes it so: It grows gnarled and twisted and needle-less. As time passes, the farm is swallowed by the suburbs. The neighborhood kids dare one another to climb the scary, grumpy-looking tree, and soon, they are using its branches for their imaginative play, the tree serving as a pirate ship, a fort, a spaceship, and a dragon. But in winter, the tree stands alone and feels bereft and lonely for the first time ever, and it can’t look away from the decorated tree inside the house next to its lot. When some parents threaten to cut the “horrible” tree down, the tree thinks, “Not now that my limbs are full of happy children,” showing how far it has come. Happily for the tree, the children won’t give up so easily, and though the tree never wished to become a Christmas tree, it’s perfectly content being a “trick or tree.” Martinez’s digital illustrations play up the humorous dichotomy between the happy, aspiring Christmas trees (and their shoppers) and the grumpy tree, and the diverse humans are satisfyingly expressive.

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7335-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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