Ginny is becoming a symbol of toddler power.

GINNY GOBLIN CANNOT HAVE A MONSTER FOR A PET

The lovable, green-skinned imp has returned following her introduction in Ginny Goblin Is Not Allowed to Open This Box (2018).

The first page establishes the fact that Ginny Goblin loves animals and that goats are among her favorites. The grinning, big-eyed toddler stands atop a similarly featured goat. The page turn reveals why goats are not good house pets: Five comical goats are wreaking havoc in a dining room. The fun begins when the narrator naively says, “Maybe if we help Ginny Goblin find a pet, she’ll stop trying to herd goats through the house.” The art perfectly complements the imaginative, absurd text, as Ginny—defying authority—tries to acquire a pet through such means as a bear trap, military tank, submarine, and rocket ship. No hermit crab or bunny for her! Just enough shiver accompanies the text and comical art’s introductions to such creatures as a kraken, a dragon, a basilisk, and a space monster. Even as Ginny is depicted doing the things she is not allowed to do, the text poses the frightful consequences: “If Ginny took her basilisk to school for show-and-tell, her whole class would turn into statues.” The text further accommodates little ones by frequently invoking the title; its tongue-in-cheek humor and clever wordplay will keep more sophisticated readers engaged. The surprise ending will elicit both a smile and a wink from all.

Ginny is becoming a symbol of toddler power. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-76416-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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