Just sing the song; this sanitized variant is an additional purchase at best.

FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT

An unscary twist on the traditional Halloween song for first-time trick-or-treaters, illustrated with Magsamen’s signature simulated stitching designs.

There are no witches in the air in this book; the wind does not blow out the light. Instead the verse starts with “pumpkins giggling all day long,” which rhymes with “Let’s sing a song.” Continuing in this sweet mode, the second pumpkin says, “We shine so bright!” and the third one agrees, “Yes, we’re a beautiful sight.” On the fourth spread the rhythm breaks down. That pumpkin says, “We’re a little bit spooky and kooky too.” The final line stretches to rhyme: “We spread a lot of love, that’s what we do!” This revision misses the point of the original—to help young children feel brave as they learn about the mildly scary tradition of Halloween. Counting down, inherent in the original, is also eliminated in this version, though one could count the stars, smiling spiders, bats, and even hearts that decorate the pages. The cover, first page, and last page show five smiling pumpkins stacked willy-nilly. The three middle spreads show just one pumpkin each, with the fourth pumpkin rather arbitrarily sporting a witch’s hat.

Just sing the song; this sanitized variant is an additional purchase at best. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-30578-4

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday.

THE ABCS OF LOVE

Animal parents declare their love for their offspring in alphabetical order.

Each page displays an enormous capital letter, one line of verse with the keyword capitalized, and a loving nonhuman parent gazing adoringly at their baby. “A is for Always. I always love you more. / B is for Butterfly kisses. It’s you that I adore.” While not named or labelled as such, the A is also for an alligator and its hatchling and B is for a butterfly and a butterfly child (not a caterpillar—biology is not the aim of this title) interacting in some way with the said letter. For E there are an elephant and a calf; U features a unicorn and foal; and X, keyed to the last letter of the animal’s name, corresponds to a fox and three pups. The final double-page spread shows all the featured creatures and their babies as the last line declares: “Baby, I love you from A to Z!” The verse is standard fare and appropriately sentimental. The art is cartoony-cute and populated by suitably loving critters on solid backgrounds. Hearts accent each scene, but the theme of the project is never in any doubt.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the syrupy sweetness will cloy after the holiday. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2095-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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