It is oh-so-easy for readers to get caught up in both Tony’s infectious excitement and his terrible woes; this should be...

YO HO HO, HALLOWEEN!

From the Tony Baloney series

Ryan and Fotheringham once again nail the early-elementary mindset, this time looking at Halloween costumes through Tony Baloney’s eyes.

This year, the macaroni penguin wants to stand out at the school’s Halloween parade, rather than wearing a hand-me-down costume or matching the Bothersome Babies Baloney, so he uses all his savings to purchase an epic pre-made pirate costume. He loves it so much that “he wears it a few minutes a day, or every second of all weekend,” despite his family’s warnings. And sure enough….The pants rip while playing soccer, the hat he left out gets used as a sled by the Bothersome Babies, the sword is confiscated at school, he leaves the eye patch and the parrot (whom stuffed-animal Dandelion wants to marry) at the dentist’s, and the hook gets run over by the garbage truck. When he tells his family, he expects a well-deserved “I told you so,” but instead he gets a parley and a rallying. Each family member contributes items for a new pirate costume; even Dandelion has a part to play. And Tony definitely stands out. Fotheringham’s digital vignettes and double-page spreads are filled with bold primary colors against white backgrounds, making it easy for newly independent readers to handle the text.

It is oh-so-easy for readers to get caught up in both Tony’s infectious excitement and his terrible woes; this should be necessary reading before making costume decisions. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-90885-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Kid-friendly dark humor.

POULTRYGEIST

The chicken crosses the road…and arrives on the other side as a ghost.

The action kicks off before the title page when the chicken crossing the road winds up a splatter of feathers against the grille of a tractor trailer. When its ghost rises from the squished remains, it meets a host of other animal ghosts that encourage the new poultrygeist to start getting scary. They probably didn’t realize, however, that they’d be the ones to be frightened. Geron’s text is full of punny lines like “It’s time to get foul, fowl!” and “Ghosts of a feather haunt together!” Midway through, the poultrygeist turns to readers to make sure they’re not too scared. This is a nice touch, maintaining engagement while also giving more timid readers time to take a beat. Oswald’s illustrations display masterful use of color, with bright, ghostly animals against a dark, often all-black background, the dialogue shown in colors that correspond to the speakers. These ghosts do become scary but not enough to completely terrorize readers. Oswald’s skill is seen in full effect, as readers witness only the animal ghosts’ reactions to the poultrygeist’s scariest face, building suspense for the full reveal. This book is just right for kids easing into the slightly scary and macabre but who still want a safe and fun read.

Kid-friendly dark humor. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1050-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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