Share with kids who like their spooky stories more silly than scary.

SCARECROW MAGIC

What happens to a scarecrow under the glow of a full moon? He leads a night of fun and frolic with other nocturnal creepy creatures.

Masessa creates suspense with steady rhyming text: “Hung from a post, a man made of straw / Moves a finger, a hand, an eyebrow, a jaw. // The magic is building. The ground comes alive. / Troublesome creatures begin to arrive.” Readers will observe oddly shaped beings emerging from the soil and appearing in jagged silhouettes on the horizon. Fantastical ghouls of many types come running to join the scarecrow in his field. But a page turn shows him as “He jumps from his post, landing light as a pin. / With a zip and a swoosh, he slips out of his skin.” The double-page spread shows the scarecrow stripped down to his skeletal self (but for polka-dot boxers) and gleefully jumping into the pond. Soon the goblins are jumping rope and bowling with pumpkins and gourds, and each monster hides “while skeleton seeks!” But soon the sun begins to rise, and the creatures must “blend into the shadows” or “burrow down low” while Scarecrow “zips up his skin” and climbs back to his post. Myers expertly paints highly detailed and textured illustrations to bring all the nighttime antics to life. Even though the various creatures look scary at first glance, a closer look reveals their toothy grins and playful behavior.

Share with kids who like their spooky stories more silly than scary. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-69109-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more