HALLOWEEN

“Tonight is the night / when dead leaves fly / like witches on switches / across the sky . . . ” Couch illustrates a brief rhyme from Behn’s first collection of poetry for children with shadowy, atmospheric views of a trio of costumed trick-or-treaters, who grow increasingly spooked as ghouls, witches, and eerily glowing jack-o-lanterns rise about them. Young audiences will respond with delighted shivers as the three fetch up in a misty graveyard, where menacing figures beckon—but turn out to be welcoming the newcomers to a party. Leers and grimaces turn to smiles, and after a bit of wild dancing, the relieved trio vanishes into the fog, waving goodbye. A surefire crowd-pleaser, with just the right reading on the fright scale for sharing with more suggestible audiences. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7358-1609-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2003

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GINGERBREAD MOUSE

What kind of house would be best for a mouse? This well-equipped rodent has a complete wardrobe, furniture, and even her own sled and backpack. Bratun’s detailed paintings introduce a cute mouse character whose cozy home in a tree is ruined by a falling branch. She decamps to a nearby home and takes up residence in their gingerbread house, making new furnishings out of household materials. On Christmas Eve, Santa provides her with an even better home in a furnished dollhouse, and the little girl of the house leaves her a gingerbread mouse cookie as a present on Christmas morning. Little girls who like miniatures and dollhouses will enjoy this simple story, with three different houses full of tiny details. Includes a recipe for gingerbread cookies. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009080-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE

The traditional song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gets a school makeover as readers follow a cheery narrator through the first 12 days of first grade.

“On the first day of first grade / I had fun right away // laughing and learning all day!” In these first two spreads, Jennings shows the child, who has brown skin and a cloud of dark-brown hair, entering the schoolyard with a diverse array of classmates and settling in. In the backgrounds, caregivers, including a woman in hijab, stand at the fence and kids hang things on hooks in the back of the room. Each new day sees the child and their friends enjoying new things, previous days’ activities repeated in the verses each time so that those listening will soon be chiming in. The child helps in the classroom, checks out books from the library, plants seeds, practices telling time and counting money, leads the line, performs in a play, shows off a picture of their pet bunny, and does activities in gym, music, and art classes. The Photoshop-and-watercolor illustrations portray adorable and engaged kids having fun while learning with friends. But while the song and topic are the same, this doesn’t come close to touching either the hysterical visuals or great rhythm of Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003).

For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266851-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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