RUNAWAY DREIDEL!

Readers certainly don’t need to be familiar with the poem “The Night Before Christmas” or with the alternative lyrics to “On Top of Old Smokey” (about the runaway meatball) to appreciate the humor of this Chanukah offering, but it wouldn’t hurt. Owing its rhythm to the former and its plot to the latter, this hilarious take-off has a delicious flavor all its own. ’Twas the first night of Chanukah when a boy’s shiny new dreidel makes a run for it. “It spun past a shoe store and past a boutique / It spun past two delis, one kosher, one Greek.” When the dreidel leaves Brooklyn and heads for the hills, the scenery begins to look more like a Russian shtetl than anywhere in North America. Brooker’s (Isabella Abnormella and the Very, Very Finicky Queen of Trouble, 2000, etc.) madly tilting, fanciful oil and cut-paper collage illustrations are wonderfully textured and full of fabulous details: buttons that look like Greek coins, shirts and dresses cut from wallpaper, and a gift for grandpa in a Tiffany’s signature box. When the dreidel decides to go into orbit—“It sparkled and glittered and twinkled and shone / Like a jewel in the crown of a queen on a throne”—everyone goes home to celebrate the holiday. Naturally, Newman (Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, p. 738, etc.) ends with a nod to that well-known Christmas poem. A lively Chanukah romp that can be enjoyed by every denomination. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6237-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Proving even pooped piggies are ready to party, this will make children want to join in.

PIG HAS A PLAN

From the I Like To Read series

A noisy barnyard is no place for a nap!

Poor pig, all he wants to do is take a short snooze. However, there seems to be something going on around him. Each of his farm friends is making noise of one kind or another. “Hen wants to saw.” “Dog wants to tap.” “Hog wants to hum.” Pig looks closer and closer to fainting from exhaustion until he spies some drinking straws and has an idea. He sinks himself in his mud puddle and breathes through a straw snorkel. He’s finally able to catch some Z’s…but all those barnyard noises had a purpose: prep for a piggy birthday celebration. So much for napping! Long’s entry in the I Like to Read series tells its simple tale in 47 words, nearly all of which are of the single-syllable, easy-to-sound-out variety. Bright pastel-and-primary full-bleed illustrations featuring big-eyed farm folk will keep eyes on the page during storytime or guided independent reading. The visual humor and the easy-reading text make this a winner for readers just starting out.

Proving even pooped piggies are ready to party, this will make children want to join in. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2428-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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