A Halloween song that can break up the ghostly tales at storytime.

HALLOWEEN GOOD NIGHT

Grabill and Okstad populate the familiar song “Over in the Meadow” with all manner of beasties and ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

“Yonder in the boneyard, / where the bats swoop and dive, / breathes an old granny zombie / with her peeling zombies five. / ‘Walk!’ seethes the granny. / ‘We’ll waltz,’ wheeze the five / as they lurch through the streets / crying ‘Ghouls, come alive!’ ” (Yes, the vocabulary is sometimes rather advanced.) From the lesser-known globster (a ghosty octopus), wood imps, and boggarts (not like at Hogwarts) to the more-common werewolves, mummies, and witches, readers will find all manner of Halloween characters in these pages. The scansion falls apart a bit in the last few spreads; one of each of the creatures surround a delighted young white girl in bed, disappointed that their plan to scare her has failed as they count from 10 back down to one, the girl collecting them up and transporting them back to the boneyard, where she tucks them in under a trompe l’oeil page corner. Okstad’s digital illustrations are creepy and use shadows to particularly good effect. But they don’t always match the text—the child “witchies” sport freckles rather than warts, and the zombies’ skin is not peeling.

A Halloween song that can break up the ghostly tales at storytime. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5061-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

SLUG IN LOVE

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere.

I'M ON IT!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

A frog tries to do everything a goat does, too.

Goat asks Frog to look at them before declaring “I’m ON it!” while balancing atop a tree stump near a pond. After an “Oooh!” and a “You know what?” Frog leaps off their lily pad to balance on a rock: “I’m on it, too!” Goat grabs a prop so that they can be both “on it AND beside it.” (It may take young readers a little bit to realize there are two its.) So does Frog. The competition continues as Frog struggles to mimic overconfident Goat’s antics. In addition to on and beside, the pair adds inside, between, under, and more. Eventually, it all gets to be too much for Frog to handle, so Frog falls into the water, resumes position on the lily pad, and declares “I am OVER it” while eating a fly. In an act of solidarity, Goat jumps in, too. In Tsurumi’s first foray into early readers she pares down her energetic, colorful cartoon style to the bare essentials without losing any of the madcap fun. Using fewer than 80 repeated words (over 12 of which are prepositions), the clever text instructs, delights, and revels in its own playfulness. Color-coded speech bubbles (orange for Goat, green for Frog) help match the dialogue with each speaker. Like others in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, Elephant and Piggie metafictively bookend the main narrative with hilariously on-the-nose commentary.

Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06696-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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