GHOSTS

The sheets, the clanking chains, the loud “BOO!”s—so old school: Today’s ghosts haunt today’s homes.

There’s the unseen television ghost, who “sits down right next to you” on the sofa and suddenly grabs you if something scary comes on, and the ghost in the telephone (“Dring! A ring, and then nothing”) and the miserable, water-hating bathroom ghost. These and others form this gallery of modern spooks who will give children with hyperactive imaginations a whole new set of anxieties. Still, except for the malicious ghost of the night, most of Goldie’s spooks are actually retiring sorts or at worst, mildly mischievous; some, such as the ghosts of the library and the garden, are even shy. Usually visible, if translucent or just outlines in Boutavant’s modernistic domestic scenes, the specters generally resemble small, unfrightening teddy bears or cats. They are presented, in a narrative that is often colored, angled and shaped to fit onto walls and furniture in the illustrations, by a cheery ectoplasmic host who closes with an invitation to a household ghost party. When? Why, tonight! Where? Guess. Perhaps best saved for the daytime, though the light tone will keep the chills on the mild side. (Picture book. 6-8)

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59270-142-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Still a holiday to believe in—“even if believing looks a little different this year.”

ALWAYS TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS

Safe and socially distant ways to celebrate the joys of Christmas.

There is no direct reference to the pandemic in the text. Instead, to Sargent’s lyrical reminders that Christmas is a time to cherish our families, friends, and neighbors, Chambers pairs festive scenes featuring family groups with one or two children decorating indoors, sitting well spaced around a campfire, or gathering via video hookup. These family groups reflect generational diversity as well as, possibly, at least one family with same-sex parents. On a world map children (one in a wheelchair) stand on different continents and wave at one another. Multiple Santas (both White- and Black-presenting, but the one at the North Pole presents White) deliver gifts while wearing protective masks. (Most of the people celebrating do not wear masks, though one family gathers for a holiday selfie wearing matching red plaid pajamas and masks.) Aside from one nighttime picture of a bright star illuminating a cross atop a church steeple, there is no religious iconography. The author avoids mention of Christian practices too, though she offers several specific suggestions for safe alternatives to traditional secular activities at the end. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 95% of actual size.)

Still a holiday to believe in—“even if believing looks a little different this year.” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-38084-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

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