MONSTER MISCHIEF

Yum! Spotted frog, hairy spider, lizard, bat—if not the stuff dreams are made on, then certainly the (un)savory contents of a Halloween monster stew! In this cute holiday rhyming story, four monsters gleefully contribute these morsels—still alive, by the way, and squirming in their garbage-can cooking pot—to what they expect will be a grand and festive treat. Enter Little Moe, a fifth monster who accidentally tips the cauldron over. Exit, in a big hurry, the writhing, slithering ingredients. What a monstrous predicament. Moe is most unhappy. Suddenly, another monster appears bearing—can you guess?—candy galore, and Halloween is saved. Jane’s rhymes flow and read well, and the tale will appeal at holiday story times, but it’s Rosenberry’s (Who’s in the Garden, p. 337, etc.) colorful, goofy monsters that are the most expressive, as are the erstwhile stew ingredients. Yum. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-80471-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A functional introduction to an important American holiday.

THE STORY OF JUNETEENTH

A look at the origins and significance of Juneteenth.

In a classroom scene, young Black children led by a Black teacher make red, black, and green popsicle-stick flags as the text introduces Juneteenth as “a special day of freedom.” In a street parade, people in Afrocentric attire carry red, black, and green flags as the first-person plural narrator describes Juneteenth as a day to remember “when the last enslaved Africans in the United States became free.” Subsequent spreads pithily cover the history of slavery, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation declaring enslaved people free as of Jan. 1, 1863, and the joy of the newly freed Africans. Readers learn that it took two more years for the news to reach the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, delivered to them by an Army contingent on June 19, the day that now marks the anniversary of Juneteenth. Assuming no prior knowledge on readers’ parts, this informative board book strings together facts about Juneteenth for readers unfamiliar with the holiday and its origins. The history is oversimplified and the prose is uninspired but well designed for independent reading. Bright, cartoonlike illustrations featuring Black and White characters with expressive faces support comprehension. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A functional introduction to an important American holiday. (Nonfiction board book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5460-0216-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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