Too much trick; not enough treat.

PEEK-A-BOOOO!

From the Heart-Felt series

Magsamen adds assurances of unconditional love to the Halloween section of the board-book shelf.

Echoing the message of her I Love You, Little Pumpkin (2017), Magsamen employs many of the same tricks—flaps to lift, costumes to guess at, and a mirror. Here the mirror is partially hidden behind a felt jack-o-lantern–shaped flap on the front cover. Inside, the mirror is at the center of each right-hand page with a monkey, bunny, bumblebee, or astronaut costume drawn around it. Presumably, the child can “try on” each costume by looking in the mirror. However, the drawings are too abstract and become just so much visual noise; most young children will just focus on their own reflections. The pumpkin from the cover is visible on the left side of each spread, decorated with a prominent element of the featured costume—monkey or bunny ears, bumblebee wings, the astronaut’s helmet. Again, it’s far too abstract for children not yet out of the concrete-operations stage and not yet familiar with Halloween traditions. The final spread assures readers, “whatever you decide to be, you’ll always be amazing to me.” All this is illustrated with simply colored illustrations with “stitched” outlines meant to look like felt toys.

Too much trick; not enough treat. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-92798-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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