Ho-ho-ho’s from the goo-goo-gah-ers.

A MUSTACHE BABY CHRISTMAS

Silly Mustache Baby (and Santa Baby) holiday fun.

In this fourth book about Mustache Baby (aka Baby Billy), his pal Baby Javier transforms into Santa Baby when his facial hair (he was born with a full beard) turns white. This makes him “Santa’s #1 helper, Santa Baby!” Wanting to get in on the action, Baby Billy offers to help by making toys. Unfortunately, he likes his creations so much that he ends up hoarding them and earning a spot on the naughty list. His mustache transforms into a handlebar-style, or “BAD GUY MUSTACHE”—a somewhat fuller version of the one Snidely Whiplash sports in Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Santa Baby is so angry at his friend’s greed that his beard turns into a “MAD GUY BEARD,” and he “saddle[s] up the reindeer” (depicted as dachshunds) to pursue Baby Billy and recover the treats he’s stolen. A misaimed snowball hits one of the “reindeer,” which prompts the pair of babies to reconcile and care for the pup. Santa Grownup sees their compassionate deeds and rewards them with a trip in his sleigh “to help deliver presents all over the world”—but only after twice checking his list to find that “Billy had made it onto the nice list by a hair!” of course. Throughout, readers are gifted with other examples of wordplay and with comical details in the digital art. Illustrations depict Baby Billy and Santa Grownup as white; Baby Javier is presumably Latinx.

Ho-ho-ho’s from the goo-goo-gah-ers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-50653-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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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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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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