Young ones will want to join in on this monster romp again and again, since it is all so silly, comforting and familiar.


The menagerie of monsters from Yolen and Murphy’s previous pairing (Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters, 2011) returns for an adventure at the playground.

All sorts and sizes of monsters gather at Creepy Commons to have some fun. The author uses two- or three-word phrases to build a steady rhyming text describing the full range of activities taking place. “Monsters stretch. / Monsters twirl. // Monsters catch. / Monsters hurl. // Monsters tumble, / Run, and lope. / Monsters jump / A monster rope.” The cadence will be soothing to young ears, leaving the eyes of toddlers and preschoolers to discover the playful details found throughout the soft-hued illustrations painted in oil, acrylic and gel. This diverse bunch is cute and cuddly without coming across as overly sweet. Some have four eyeballs, and some have only one. Pointy horns and handlike hair sprout from curious places on this happily rambunctious crew. Big and small, young and old—all cavort on slides and swings. Occasionally, there is a mishap—“Monsters in / Three-legged races / Fall upon / Their Monster faces”—but it is nothing a “monster-sicle” treat cannot fix.

Young ones will want to join in on this monster romp again and again, since it is all so silly, comforting and familiar. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5727-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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From the Theater Books series

A young wizard helps cure Dudley the dragon’s hiccups.

He does so after the royal family and their servants call on him to help solve the hiccup-induced wafts of smoke that keep appearing throughout the castle. Magician Max concocts a potion that quickly cures Dudley, to everyone’s delight. On each page, there is a die-cut hole shaped like arched windows or an opening to a cellar. When the page is turned, the image framed by the hole appears on the next double-page spread. These features appear to be only an attention-getting gimmick and do little to illuminate the slight story. While there are some clever images in the jewel-toned, detailed cartoon art (a spider wearing a gas mask or eyes and frog legs in Max’s potion pot), the antics and medieval imagery are going to go over the heads of typical board-book readers. The interactive feature on the cover—a pull-tab at the top of the book that opens and closes the castle doors to reveal the hero Max—will probably interest youngsters the most. The companion title, A Ballet to Remember (978-0-7641-6645-7), employs this pull-tab feature to better effect, as it opens and closes a stage curtain. Here, the story focuses on an upcoming ballet recital. A puppy belonging to one of the dancers wreaks havoc with the costumes, and the performers have to set things right before the big show. Again, the youngest readers are not going to get much out of the tale, which also utilizes the die-cut holes in the pages. Neither magical nor memorable for typical board-book readers. (Board book. 3-4)


Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7641-6647-1

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Though the book’s flaps are overambitious, horse lovers will be champing at the bit to meet these new farm friends


From the Double Booked! series

Meet various horses and hear their stories in this lift-the-flap ode to all things equine.

Cut into a barn shape, this board book splits down the middle so that the barn doors open outward. On each side is a stall with door-shaped flaps. Through brief, somewhat stiff biographies, readers meet 12 of the (fictional) horses with surprisingly variant stories, from Clyde the firefighter to Biscuit, the itty-bitty pony who prides in taking children “on their first ride.” Each stall displays eclectic paraphernalia that reflects the horse’s particular backstory. Circus horse Nutmeg’s stall showcases fancy feathers, framed photos of her glory days, and lift-the-flap stall doors painted in circus tent stripes that reveal Nutmeg herself, prancing and costumed. Though there’s no plot, there’s a cozy summation as readers meet new mother Maple on the final page, ruminating about which path her own tiny foal might take. Quaint, pastel-colored illustrations feel as though they might be stills from a vintage animated film. All of this warmth however, is reined in by the unwieldy design. Though the cover proudly proclaims “26 lift-the-flaps inside!” it’s too many to comfortably read with a lap-sit child, with flaps flying open unexpectedly and making it difficult to see the sweet horses in their entirety.

Though the book’s flaps are overambitious, horse lovers will be champing at the bit to meet these new farm friends . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7088-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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