Genial and satisfying in its sweet, childlike simplicity.

DÍA DE DISFRACES

Madrid resident, author, and illustrator Gómez delivers yet another delightful picture book reflecting childhood’s simple joys.

A young, brown-skinned girl is eager to show off her homemade rabbit get-up at her class’s upcoming costume party. Unfortunately, on the big day, she wakes up sick, so she has to stay home, much to her chagrin. Feeling better the next day, she dons her rabbit costume upon her mother’s suggestion, then eagerly heads to school. Her schoolmates’ reception, however, is less than ideal—students stare, point, and laugh. A moving, wordless double-page spread shows the protagonist running away from the playground in embarrassment. But when Hugo, who also missed the costume party, arrives wearing a carrot costume—“seriously!”—a game of rabbit-chases-the-carrot begins, and soon everyone wants to join the fun. The text is inflected with Spanish colloquialisms (cole, conejito, tenía tantas ganas, genial) from beginning to heartfelt end. The translation in the simultaneously published English edition is somewhat choppy and doesn't do the original Spanish edition justice. The charming paper collage and digital illustrations have a flat rendering style reminiscent of child art and faithfully capture the distinctive gestures and deeply felt emotions of young children. The book’s artwork includes diverse representation. (This review was updated for accuracy.)

Genial and satisfying in its sweet, childlike simplicity. (Spanish language picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5858-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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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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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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