GUS AND GRANDPA AND THE HALLOWEEN COSTUME

Gus and his grandfather celebrate Halloween together in this eighth entry in the series by Mills and Stock (Gus and Grandpa at Basketball, 2001, etc.). Gus has a problem to solve: his parents don’t approve of store-bought Halloween costumes, and they think their son can come up with his own. He appeals to Grandpa, who luckily has a trunk full of family clothing in his attic. Grandpa finds a Canadian Mountie uniform worn by Gus’s father as a Halloween costume when he was a boy. Gus proudly tells his friends, “My grandma made it for Daddy when he was a little boy.” In a satisfying conclusion, Gus’s father takes a picture of his son in the uniform, with Grandpa standing nearby. Mills quietly shows Gus solving his own problem, both in figuring out a suitable costume and in handling how he presents his heirloom costume to his friends. Stock’s understated watercolor illustrations in muted fall tones complement the story well, and she captures Grandpa’s warm affection for his grandson. This mid-level easy reader will also work well as a Halloween read-aloud both for younger children and for the early elementary grades. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2002

ISBN: 0-374-32816-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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THE UGLY PUMPKIN

A club-shaped pumpkin gets dissed by a customer, all the other pumpkins, even twisted apple trees, before the sight of a motley crop of hubbards, acorns and banana squash brings on a personal epiphany: “O my gosh / I’m a squash.” Endowed with a face and stick limbs, the gnarled narrator sits down at a Thanksgiving table with its new soulmates, then is last seen strolling down the lane hand in hand with a lumpy new friend. Written in doggerel—“A skeleton came for pumpkins / one bright and crispy day. / I asked if I could get a ride . . . / He laughed and said: No Way”—and illustrated in brightly colored paint-and-paper collage, this weak riff on the “Ugly Duckling” may not earn high marks for botanical accuracy (all pumpkins are squash), but it does feature plenty of visual flash. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-24267-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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