THERE'S A WITCH IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

When a witch crash-lands into this book, she’ll need help from readers in tidying up her messes.

The newest in Fletcher and Abbott’s Who’s in Your Book? series stars a mischievous, messy witch. With text instructing readers directly, children will use their “finger wands” to turn the witch into a cat and pop bubble bunnies. There’s even a spell that makes a hole in some pages, an orifice through which readers push excess slime. All of the fun ends with a cleaned-up book and a sleepover with little monsters. The built-in reader participation is a serious trademark, and most of the actions can be accomplished either one-on-one with an adult or in a group setting. Abbott’s illustrations hit on the cute side of spooky, the smiling, redheaded witch with classic green skin and a pointed black hat, a cauldron, and a broomstick. All of the backgrounds are simple bright colors, purples, pinks, blue, and orange, zeroing the focus in on the messy action. Careful observers will notice a torn blue hole drawn on the copyright page, illustrating the witch’s crash into the book. It’s tried-and-true rather than surprising at this point, but the simple and straightforward formula will certainly appeal to readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another engaging outing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12515-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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