HAPPY 4TH OF JULY, JENNY SWEENEY!

Kimmelman and Cote (Round the Turkey, 2002) look at another holiday with a fairly clumsy, if well-intentioned, salute to the Fourth of July. Sturdy, uninspired couplets take young readers through an Independence Day: “Sun’s up high, / Fourth of July! / Lots of preparation / for a day of celebration.” So it goes, as the good people of Podunk get primed for the festivities. “Mr. Hill fires up the grill. / All the family eats their fill. / Katie toots her piccolo. / Jenny ties a big red bow.” And people there are aplenty, in a rather ham-fisted display of multiculturalism: “The Dalal family smiles proudly. / ‘We’re Americans now!’ they proclaim loudly.” Luis salutes the flag; Jimmy Yang sips lemonade. On the other hand, there is a parade with bicycles and a band, a mayor speechifying from a gazebo on the town green, and barbeques, fireworks, and a dog causing a ruckus, while the artwork has a good-natured clunkiness that fits the text. To close, Kimmelman has composed a page of facts about the Fourth: the reason for the design of the flag, key players behind the Declaration of Independence, the national bird, and the Liberty Bell. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8075-3152-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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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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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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