A gift of a book to open again and again.

TEN RULES OF THE BIRTHDAY WISH

A happy count-up to a birthday wish.

The opening page proclaims, “There are, / there most definitely are, / 10 / very specific, tried and true, / and absolutely essential / Rules For The Making of / a Birthday Wish.” The ensuing spreads detail these rules, all delivered in an exuberant, humorous tone, as well as exceptions and modifications to those rules. For example, the second rule instructs, “You must have a PARTY!” at which balloons are recommended décor, unless “you are a rhinoceros, a swordfish, / a sea urchin, or pointy in any way.” The accompanying illustrations show these “pointy” creatures popping said balloons with sound-effect “POP!”s and apologies of “oopsie,” “sorry,” and “my bad” issuing from their mouths. Every step up to and including the clever 10th rule, “Don’t forget that ‘wish’ ends in / ‘shhhhhh’ / so keep your wish quiet, / silent, / hush-hush,” is satisfyingly humorous and sure to gift readers with guffaws. Lichtenheld’s art matches the text’s humor on each spread, with anthropomorphic animal antics and a few human revelers, too. A spare moment at the sixth rule fearlessly embraces the white of the page as the text states “You must close your eyes,” and art shows a sweep of lashes on either side of the gutter indicating closed eyes plus an embellishment of a flower to symbolize “something extraordinary” in a birthday wish.

A gift of a book to open again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4154-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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