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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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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