BooksForKidsBlog

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Little Spooky Stuff! Where's the Witch? by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Let's look for all the Halloween spooks!

The very youngest little book lovers now have a Halloween board book just for them. Inside on each double page spread there's a Halloween character hiding under an easy felt lift-the-flap just waiting for little fingers to view the big reveal.

Where is that SKELETON? Oh, lift the flap and.... there's one!

There is a SPIDER, inspecting a pumpkin with possibilities!

There is a VAMPIRE, complete with matching black sarcophagus for napping!

Is there a WITCH! Lift the flap to see her fly in front of the moon!

But where are YOU? I dare you to lift that curtain and see!

And there, behind the soft flap, is a mirror and ... Who is that looking back? Who's that you see?

It's YOU, in Angela P. Arrhenius' little toy-and-movable board book just right for the youngest Halloween-goers, Where's the Witch? (Nosy Crow Books, 2019). There's a little vocabulary lesson built into this first book, in which the usual suspects of the holiday are cute comic characters from the spooky season in this small, easy-for-small-fingers fun first Halloween book.

Among the several other beginner board books by Ingela P. Arrhenius are Where's the Duck? and Where's the Unicorn?

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Spooky Spoof! Mother Ghost by Rachel Kolar

WEE WILLIE WEREWOLF RUNS THROUGH THE TOWN
AND WITH A HOWL HE CRIES,
"ARE ALL THE MONSTERS IN THEIR BEDS?
THE SUN'S ABOUT TO RISE!"

Poor Mother Goose! Her venerable rhymes and tales are so familiar, making them fair game for parody, and Rachel Kolar's enticing Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018) has a holiday blast spoofing those famous verses with a Halloween twist.

Artist Roland Garrigue's rococo style and black and purple palette make the most of the Halloween tropes--bare, leafless trees provide perches for ghosties, and a zombie-esque Mary Quite Contrary sits on a tombstone eating worms--and that spider for dessert.

Old Mother Hubbard goes to her cupboard for a dog bone, only to have a skeleton claim it for one of his own. A spooky bat is the stand-in for the homey Mrs. Goose, and instead of a little lamb, her Mary has a pet ghost, white as a cloud, who follows her everywhere wearing his shroud. And as for that other nursery rhyme Mary....
MARY, MARY, TALL AND SCARY,
HOW DOES YOUR GRAVEYARD GROW?
WITH BURIED BONES AND CARVED GRAY STONES,
AND LITTLE GHOSTS ALL IN A ROW!

All of Kolar's nursery characters are decked out as familiar Halloween characters as the diddle-diddle cat fiddles for a ghoul, while Little Boy Drac blows his horn in this seasonal spoof of an old favorite collection that most kids will find rhyming, irresistible chuckle-bait. A first choice for children's holiday library collections and a sure-fire funny read-aloud.

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Kitty Wrangler!The Pawed Piper by Michelle Robison

I wanted a cat to cuddle.

Now what do cats like?

Maybe grandma can help. She has a great tuxedo cat named Hector--who, grandma says, loves catnip, and cardboard boxes. and spreading out all over any newspaper in sight!

Our girl assembles lots of boxes and pots of catnip
and stacks and stacks of old newspapers for her room... and leaves the window open to all kitty comers. At first, none appear, but in the middle of the night she discovers...
Something purry... furry... and cuddly...

It's Hector with hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats... (Wait! That's another story, but there were lots of them!)
67, exactly!

All kinds of cats fill her bedroom--fat cats, tiny tiger cats, spotted and striped cats, happy cats and grumpy cats... including one that secretes herself in the sock drawer. It's a CATegorically amazing day, but when she tries to take Hector home that afternoon, it's like, well, herding cats,--until she's stopped in her tracks when she spots all the missing cat posters (hundreds and millions and billions...  and, well, you know!) on a wall. She has to take all the cats back to their homes, and at last, with tired feet and a heavy heart, she heads back home, still cat-less!
I'd forgotten all about the cat
in my sock drawer. She'd been so quiet.

And now I knew why!

Now she has a family of kittens, and when it is time for each of them to have new homes, there's one kitten who stays to cuddle... forever!

Recalling Wanda Gag's classic Caldecot-winner, Millions of Cats (Picture Puffin Books) Michelle Robinson's new The Pawed Piper (Candlewick Press, 2019) shows that there's the right cat for everyone somewhere. Robinson's cat tale is a thoughtful, quiet one of how to find the right cat... or giving the right cat a chance to find you. Chinlun Lee's pastel illustrations use soft watercolors in all the hues of cats who cuddle and purr and snuggle... and come home to stay.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Meet the Folks! The Addams Family by Alexandra West

THIS IS THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

GOMEZ AND MORTICIA ARE MARRIED. THEIR CHILDREN ARE PUGGSLEY AND WEDNESDAY. UNCLE FESTER IS GOMEZ/S UNUSUAL BROTHER.

THERE'S GRANDMAMA', GOMEZ' MORE UNUSUAL MOTHER, AND THEN THERE'S LURCH THE BUTLER.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY IS A BIT DIFFERENT! THEY THINK THUNDERSTORMS ARE PERFECT WEATHER.

Iterations of the Addams Family's story go back at least four generations of fans for the famed macabre family. Created in single panel cartoons in the The New Yorker by Charles Addams back in 1938, the characters which spoofed a bizarre American family grew in popularity and in 1964 became a live-actor hit on the black-and-white television screen. An animated version and a full-length TV movie continued the story in the 1970s, and in the 1990s a full-length theater live-action movie, with Academy Award nominations, as well as several more cartoons versions, were followed by a hit Broadway musical production. Now, proving that a old tropes, like the grisly Addams, never die, the 2019 3-D full-length cartoon version just opened in theaters for the Halloween season. (See trailer here).

As a boost for print media, Harper and Row's respected series of I-Can-Read  books has a paperback introduction to the fantasy family. The Addams are such  a venerable property that it's truly an "All in the Family" franchise that great-grandparents and grandparents can easily share with youngsters, and Alexandra West's and Lissy Martin's easy reader, The Addams Family: Meet the Family (I Can Read Level 2) (Harper I-Can-Read, 2019) is a good way to prep primary graders for the movie and give them some emergent reader print experience as well.

Fetch the book from Cousin Itt, THING!

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Friday, October 18, 2019

The Oldest Rivalry! The Evil Princess Vs.The Brave Knight by Jennifer L. Holm (Vs. Matthew Holm)

In a modest medieval castle dwelt a fair-featured but evil princess and a maddeningly exemplary good knight. They shared a castle.

They shared a manky cat.

But there were issues.

The Evil Princess has a definite ignoble streak. Princess Iniquitous knows just how to time a well-placed royal slipper to trip up her rival, Mr. Nicey-Nicey Knight.

The Good Knight protests innocence to the Magic Mirror. He is merely dutifully patrolling the castle. That's what a good knight does, to which his rival responds....
That's what as evil princess does!

This twosome know just how to pull each other's chains.

Sent to their respective bed chambers by their nanny, Magic Mirror, the two plan their strategies, the Knight sulking at the injustice of it all, and the Princess planning malicious spells to perpetrate on her uber-righteous rival. But being evil or guiltless is no fun alone. For that they each need each other!
WE NEED a QUEST! proclaims the Princess.

And the two manage to cooperate in rescuing a damsel in distress in the moat (actually their cranky cat whom they dunk in their bathtub). The Good Knight is valiant in a daring rescue of the feline from the rubber ducky moat monsters, but The Evil Princess can't resist giving the happy hero a malicious shove into the suds. The Good Knight may be brave, but he's not so virtuous as to forego grabbing the Princess by the hair and sousing her in the suds, too. All's fair in love and war.

And neither one of them is a bit sorry, in that picture book sister-and-brother pair Jennifer and Matthew Holm's latest, The Evil Princess vs. the Brave Knight (Book 1) (Random House, 2019). Three-time Newbery winner Jennifer Holm's author chops are audacious, while her little brother Matthew holds his own in the art department, making for a mischievous story that's told skillfully by this sibling pair who probably know a thing or two about sister-brother rivalries. Says School Library Journal, "This enjoyable tale will be a hit where parents need to make quarreling kids see the funny side of their battles."

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mixed Family: Moldilocks and the Three Scares (A Zombie Tale)? by Lynne Marie

Life as one of the undead isn't going well for little Moldilocks.

Other kids aren't exactly eager to play with her. Wherever she goes, people seem to find another place to be right away.

Morose, Moldilocks wanders alone in the moonlight one night, until she comes upon a haunted house. Perhaps she can find a bite and somewhere to sleep there.

But inside lives an unusual family--the Three Scares. Papa is a monster in the Frankenstein mode; Mommy is a mummy, and Baby is a tiny vampire just cutting his first fangs. Inside the spooky residence, the three are just sitting down to supper.

This soup is so hot, it's boiling my bolts!" yelled Papa.

"It's so hot, I'm unraveling!" moaned Mommy Mummy.

"It's so hot it's giving me a fang-ache!" cried Baby.

Papa suggests they take their dog Plasma out for a moonlit walk while their supper cools.

And no sooner do they depart than Moldilocks approaches, tracking the homey smells of the house. In she goes, unable to resist Baby's bowl of soup. Apparently it's just right for zombie sipping, and with a full tummy, Moldi moves on to the parlor where there are three chairs. Tired and growing sleepy, she tries them all and settles for the smallest chair--Baby Vlad's--upon which to crash--which is just what happens.

Savvy young readers will think they know exactly where this one is going, but there's a jolly surprise ending, in which the Three Scares return to find a different head on Baby Scares' pillow, and it seems the homeless Moldilocks is just what the family needs to be complete.
"Wanna play Corpse and Robbers?" begs Baby.

From its rhyming spoofy title to its perfect take-off on the traditional English cautionary folktale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, author Lynn Marie's and illustrator David Lorenzo's punny and funny modern folk tale of the blended family uses the familiar Three Bears mold with a novel monster trope twist in their Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale (Sterling Press, 2019 (Am. Ed.)

"Lorenzo's acrylic-and-colored-pencil illustrations feature rich and vivid colors; lots of bones, skulls, and spiderwebs make up most of the home's ambience. How this unusual family finds exactly what they were missing makes for a satisfying tale,” quoths Kirkus Reviews.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Baby Spook Book! Peek-A-Booooo! by Sandra Magsamen

It's a treat you don't eat!

The littlest among us can have a sweet Halloween treat for the spooky season, too. Sandra Mangamen's latest baby-and toddler board book,
Peek-a-Boooo! (Heart-felt Books) (Scholastic Press, 2019) begins with a question about what the tot can "be" for Halloween---a monkey? a honey bunny? an astronaut who flies in the sky?

Beginning with its soft and touchable die-cut Jack o' Lantern on the cover, this little toy-and-movable creation is both a book and a toy. Little ones can reach right through the cover, lift the soft felt flap on the facing page, and see, not just a bunny or a bee, but --themselves in the hidden mirror.  Based on the favorite interactive game of babies for millennia, this small book is a fine introduction to books and the holiday.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Finding Home: Home Is a Window by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard

HOME IS

HELLO, SWEET PEA,
AND A HUG.

Home is a door where someone is waiting with a hug. It's a cozy chair with a sleeping dog and a little bit of green by the window.

It's a long table with a family sharing dinner and drying dishes beside Mom after dinner.

It's a favorite quilt on your bed to cozy under at night, with the light from Ms. Vera's window next door as the nightlight on your wall.

It's a stairway with family pictures hung all the way to the top, things that stay the same, day to day.

But what if... one day all those things go away? What if they are packed up and loaded up, and all you have of home is your pillow in the car and...
... THE SHIRT THAT SMELLS LIKE YOUR OLD ROOM.

AND THEN--
HERE WE ARE.

What makes a house a home? Familiar things, yes, but mostly the family inside. In Stephanie Parsley Ledyard's Home Is a Window (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, 2019), the cozy quilt becomes the tablecloth for a floor picnic surrounded by boxes, and there's a window with with a plant and Mom and Dad just beyond.

Moving is a common childhood experience, and Ledyard's sweet story of family life reinforces the theme that home is where the heart is, where there's a hug waiting just beyond the door. Pixar artist Chris Sasiki's richly evocative illustrations done in homey faux naif paintings in soft muted colors ease the sense of loss and suggest that the new home will be a happy one, with a window with a little bit of green. Share this one with Deborah Underwood's Bad Bye, Good Bye (see review here)

Stephanie Ledyard is also the author of Pie Is for Sharing.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Can't Scare Me! Nothing Wee About Me! A Magical Adventure by Kim Chafee

It was finally Sunday again.
Liesel had only one thing on her mind!

ADVENTURE!

So it's off to Grandma Rose's house for a special "wand"--a much-used soup ladle, which Grandma warns doesn't work so well anymore. But Liesel only makes one big wish and is whisked away in her yellow submarine to a mysteriously medieval island.

Using the versatile ladle as a periscope, Liesel spots the island volcano's lava flow and sees her mission!

She has to warn the villagers to save themselves from the red-hot danger!

But the islanders don't cooperate with the rescue plan. Brandishing her ladle, Leisel convinces a pirate to join her rescue effort, but a giant dragon defiantly defends the castle keep.
"Go away, wee girl, or join the prince as a prisoner in my castle," the dragon roared.

"Not a chance, Dragon," snapped Liesel."There won't BE a castle once that volcano goes kablooey.

"AND THERE'S NOTHING WEE ABOUT ME!"

And pirates, dragons, a prince who needs to potty, and a lava-spouting volcano are no match for a confident girl and a magic ladle with all its old powers, in Kim Chafee's funny and fantastical tall tale, Nothing Wee about Me!: A Magical Adventure (Page Street Kids, 2019). With a brave heroine with spunk and big ideas and the jolly, spirited illustrations of Laura Bobbiesi which greatly extend the text, Chafee's story has a reassuring premise for little readers that courage counts more than size.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Snug in the Storm: Goodnight, Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

The birds are swiftly winging their way toward their nests, and with best friend Toad at the wheel, Little Blue Truck is heading homeward, too. Lightning is starting to flash as they dash toward their snug garage.

Such a wet and stormy night!
Their warm garage was a welcome sight.

But before they even close the door, they have a guest with a request!
"Maaaaa!" said Goat. "Please, Little Blue!"
"Can I come in and stay with you?

And Goat is only the first to arrive. Hen flies her coop to roost on top of Little Blue, followed one by one by the other farmyard animals--Goose, Pig, and Duck, who take cover in the warm, dry garage. Pig wriggles in under Little Blue, and Duck and Goose flap and ruffle their feathers to shake off the rain. Even Cow shows up to squeeze into the now quite crowded little red garage.

Somehow, when they're all together, the lightning's crashes and flashes don't seem so very scary!

The storm ends with a bit of soft rain, and with a jolly, "Climb right in!" Little Blue Truck gives the sleepy friends all a ride back to their waiting coop and perches, stall and pen.
The rain had stopped,and way up high,
the moon was a smile in a starry sky.

With the happy image of the crescent moon's smile, a dark and stormy night ends with kind words and comforting companionship, in Alice Schertle's forthcoming sequel in her beloved series,Good Night, Little Blue Truck (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019). Author Schertle's perfect little rhymes offer soothing succor, and for kids who find crashy, flashy thunderstorms a bit frightening, with the comfort of companionship they find that a nighttime rainstorm may even induce a few yawns. With jolly illustrations "in the style of the late series illustrator Jill McElmurry," artist John Joseph keeps the rustic scene warm and sweet with McElmurry's familiar soft pastels and rounded touch.

Who wouldn't want to ride out a scary storm and be put to bed with Little Blue Truck! It's the best bad-weather bedtime story ever! Share this one with Schertle's seasonal Little Blue Truck's Halloween (see review here.)

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Spelling Lesson! Clever Little Witch by Muen Thj Van

Linh is the island's cleverest little witch. She's got all the right stuff--a trusty flying broom, a book of magical spells, and the right familiar--a magical pet to help her!

But she's got something else that is not a magical asset:

A BABY BROTHER!

In case you don't know, a baby brother is trouble. He tries to ride your broom, boo-hooing when he crashes and gets a boo-boo! He chews the pages from your spell book and spits them up.

Linh tries giving him away.
I OFFERED BABY PHU TO THE TROLL BENEATH THE BRIDGE, BUT HE SAID "THANKS, BUT NO THANKS!"

The Forest Fairy can't deal with dirty diapers. The Orphanage sends him back for keeping all the little werewolves awake!

So Linh decides to turn him into something less annoying than a baby brother--a gold fish! He's already eaten half of the page with the spell for turning brothers into goldfish, but Linh figures she can wing the rest.
FROM THE TIP OF YOUR NOSE
TO THE TOP OF YOUR TOES,
BUBBLE EYES, MARBLE SIZE,
LET ME SEE THOSE FISHY EYES!

Her spell works--sort of. First her baby brother becomes a hoppy frog, and then clumsy seal. The third try is the worst of all.
HE BECAME A DRAGON!

Dragons are WAY more trouble than baby brothers, as Linh learns in Clever Little Witch (Margaret K. Elderberry Books, 2019), and Linh decides that she's going to have to give her spelling tests a rest and let her baby brother grow up the usual way. Artist Yum Hyewon's little witch is endearing as well as daring, and her baby brother manages to be adorable, even as a dragon, making this brother-sister duo a engaging pair without a scare for spooky season reading. As Kirkus Reviews says, "A charming take on sibling rivalry."

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Gotta Go for the Bus!! Even Monsters Go To School by Lisa Wheeler

Frankenstein is clean and neat.
His jacket's new. His shoes are sweet.
He finds a chair and takes a seat.
Even Frankie goes to school.

Even little Vlad Dracula is envious of Frankie's Chuck Taylor kickZ, complete with rivets all around their elevator soles. But all the little monsters are stylin' on the first day of school!

Little Dragon's wearing pink bows, and Mummy's fresh wrappings are spotlessly white. Yeti's hair is neatly parted, and Vlad's fangs are well brushed. They can't wait!

Little aliens snack on their big box of crayons and squeeze School Glue on their heads so everything they learn will stick.
And one little three-eyed extra-terrestrial has THE  T-shirt that every kid envies this year:

MY PARENTS
WENT TO
AREA 51
AND ALL I GOT
WAS THIS
STUPID T-SHIRT


With both eager and reluctant scholars among her little monsters--Bigfoot, Giant, Yeti, and Troll as well--noted author Lisa Wheeler's latest, Even Monsters Go to School (Balzer and Bray, 2019), makes the case that youngsters can expect fun and friendly faces at school. This sequel to Wheeler's Even Monsters Need to Sleep helps young readers tackle the normal trepidations they all share about school, and along with the Wheeler's jolly quatrains, the comical acrylic illustrations of artist Chris Van Dusen, filled with plenty of humorous monster tropes, makes for a happy bit of bibliotherapy for those reluctant scholars out there. After all, as Mo Willem's new book for the school-bound season points out, even The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! (see review here).

Of Wheeler and Van Dusen's latest, Booklist's reviewer says, "Everything about this romp is cheerful and reassuring, and readers will be happy to know that school is for everybody including little monsters just like them."

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Picking at the Patch! Pick A Pumpkin by Patricia Toht

PICK A PUMPKIN FROM THE PATCH.

TALL AND LEAN,
SHORT OR FAT

VIVID ORANGE,
GHOSTLY WHITE

OR SPECKLED GREEN MIGHT BE JUST RIGHT.

It's a family expedition to the local patch, a rare treat in these days, when perforce most pumpkins come from a store, a unique chance to see those amazing plants still growing in the autumn sunlight in all their variety! How do you choose the best one for your family from so much pumpkin plentitude?

And then--you make your pick... and get to actually PICK it!

Back home,  add a friend or two to your crew! There's another big decision to be made.   What sort of face shall your pumpkin head have?

Eyes that are round? Spooky! Eyes that are half-moons? Goofy! Triangular eyes? Upside... or down...or sideways? Merry... or scary! Slitty Eyes? Frightful! So many choices!

And when you're done with the carving and the purple twilight grows nigh, it's SHOW TIME for your pumpkin! Get everyone in on the big reveal!
STRIKE A MATCH.
THE WICK WILL CATCH.

SEE THE GLOW OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR.
IT'S A PUMPKIN... NO MORE!

It's a lucky bunch of kids who get to go from picking a pumpkin in the patch to proudly leaving their creation to guard the door while they sally forth, merry or scary, and see how their neighbors' Jack o' lanterns are carved. Even big city kids can have a vicarious experience of the process from picking to going public with your own pumpkin in Patricia Thot's piquantly rhymed do-it-yourself picture book, Pick a Pumpkin (Candlewick Press, 2019).  Illustrator Jarvis perfectly portrays the entire process from patch to Jack, and this one is great for reading aloud or for browsing by both readers and pre-readers alike. Exults Kirkus Reviews "The nearly flawless rhythm of the text is a pleasure to read and will likely become a favorite... Enchanting!"

And.. if Halloween comes, can Christmas be far around the corner? Author Toht's and artist Jarvis' earlier hands-on Christmas tree forest tale is Pick a Pine Tree!

Or for a purely urban patchless pumpkin tale, share this one with Lucy Cumming's best-selling Stumpkin. (Read my review here.)

And for more pumpkin lore, pair this one with Gail Gibbons' charming historical look at the all-American pumpkin--from feeding the Pilgrims to Halloween's favorite emblem, Thanksgiving's pumpkin pie, or pumpkin spiced everything--The Pumpkin Book.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Heads Up! Skulls by Blair Thornburgh

YOU PROBABLY DON'T THINK MUCH ABOUT SKULLS!

But luckily, Mother Nature has already taken care of that subject. Everyone has one, a skull, that is. Before batting helmets, knights' helmets, football helmets, astronauts' helmets--our skulls are already on the job protecting our most important part--our BRAINS!
SKULLS ARE SAFE AND SNUG--

LIKE A CAR SEAT FOR OUR BRAINS.

They come pre-punched with holes for important things--eye holes for seeing, air holes for breathing, ear holes for hearing, and mouths for--well, grilled cheese sandwiches, for one thing!
MOST OF ALL, SKULLS ARE NOT TRYING TO BE SCARY. THEY JUST DO THEIR JOB (AND NOBODY SAYS "THANK YOU.")

NOT YOU! YOU LOVE HAVING A SAFE PLACE FOR YOUR BRAIN!

Author Blair Thornburgh's tongue-in-cheek new picture book Skulls! (Atheneum Books, 2019) proves that skulls are not dull, packing a lot of information into a small package (rather like our skulls, really) in his new primary level treatise on the anatomy and physiology of the skull, including an appendix, Cool Skull Facts, including the fact that the adult skull has 22 bones and that the human head weighs about ten pounds--which accounts for those random neck pains we humans have.

Artist Scott Campbell, creator of the hilarious artwork in Drew Daywalt's hit, Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy (see review here), has provided the funny illustrations for an informative and fun read-aloud for the spooky season that fits into the primary grade science curriculum like your noggin fits into bike helmet. Says Booklist, "Guaranteed to get kids giggling and proclaiming, 'I love my skull!'"

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Carving Contest! Peppa's Giant Pumpkin by Neville Astby


TODAY IS HALLOWEEN!

The children are having a competition.

Everyone has their pumpkins ready to decorate.

And of course Peppa Pig is keen to have the best Jack o' Lantern in her class. The whole family cooperates to help her with the competition.

Peppa's grandparents have done their part. Grandpa Pig has been growing a huge pumpkin. In fact, it's still growing in his pumpkin patch.
It's the biggest pumpkin in the world!

Mom and Dad and little George are there to join in the process of carving the big pumpkin into an outstanding Jack O' LANTERN.

Only then do they realize that they have NO way to fit this JACK into their car!

But Grampa Pig and his friend Mrs. Rabbit manage to rescue the situation, and with Mrs. Rabbit at the controls of her helicopter, they deliver Peppa's entry by sky crane! As the children cheer, the giant pumpkin arrives just in time for the judging, in Neville Astby's shaped board book, Peppa's Giant Pumpkin (Peppa Pig) (Scholastic Books, 2019), sure to please youngsters just getting into the fun of converting pumpkins to Jack o' Lanterns.

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Monday, October 07, 2019

Monsters Come Out Tonight! by Frederick Glaser

THE FULL MOON SHIMMERS IN THE SKY.

PUMPKINS GLOW AND BLACK BATS FLY.

There's no telling what characters may appear at your door on Halloween.

There might be a skeleton or someone who looks like Dracula!

Or...
MOONBEAMS THAT MAKE YOU CHANGE AND GROW

SPROUTING HAIR FROM HEAD OR TOE...!

Could that be a werewolf?

Warty witches fly down from the sky. Frankie Frankenstein lumbers by and Mumbly Mummy in winding wrappings wanders up to ring the bell.

All the spooky denizens are likely to be in sight on Halloween night, and any one of them might be in store when you open that door!

But Frederick Glaser's new toy-and-movable board book, Monsters Come Out Tonight! (Abrams Appleseed Books, 2019), filled with clever rhyming couplets and the comic illustrations of noted artist Edward Miller, offers a cheery preview to all the cliche' scary characters who may appear on Halloween night, providing the youngest holiday celebrants an anxiety-reducing introduction to ghosties and goblins and things that go bump (or ring the doorbell) in the night. With easy flaps for young fingers, little ones can open the "door" to all those costumed critters, and the final four-page gatefold opens wide to give kids a chance to put on their costumes and join in the Monster Ball with them all.
LIFT THE FLAPS AND LET THE FUN BEGIN!

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Sunday, October 06, 2019

What's Behind That Spooky Door? Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House by Deborah Diesen

Mr. Fish was nervous about going out on Halloween.

He didn't like getting spooked, but he did love candy and costumes.

But when his buddy with the built-in lantern offers to go out with him, Mr. Fish puts on his witch's hat and goes along to trick or treat. But when he learns that their first stop is Miss Shimmer's Haunted House, his scales begin to shiver and his fins are all a-quiver.
"Don't be fooled by make-believe monsters!" advised Mr. Lantern Fish.

So Pout-Pout Fish screws his courage up to the sticking place and swims bravely inside Miss Shimmer's scary house, giving the guard shark at the door a wide berth.

But once inside, there are a lot of scary sights. There are creepy crawlies, and eerie eels, Yipes!
"They're not real!" whispers Mr. Lantern Fish.

But even Mr. Lantern Fish's bravado fails when they swim right into a bunch of eight scary snakes!

But this time it's Mr. Pout-Pout Fish who reassures his friend. It's only clever Octopus with snake masks on each tentacle!

Pout-Pout Fish is now ready for more fright-full adventures, in Deborah Diesen's Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House (A Pout-Pout Fish Paperback Adventure) (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), as this small fry faces the sometimes scary costumes of Halloween and finds them fun. It never hurts for
preschoolers to get some advance preparation before they head out on Halloween night with the other trick or treaters, and illustrator Dan Hanna's comic denizens of the deep in holiday guise add to this not-so frightful tale in author Diesen's popular series.

For more fishy Halloween fun, share this one with Diesen’s and Hanna’s paperback Halloween tale, Trick or Treat, Pout-Pout Fish (A Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure).

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Saturday, October 05, 2019

Potty Lit Time! Super Pooper and the Whizz Kid--Potty Power by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle

There's a time and place for everything, and there comes a time when toddlers may need some toilet training lit.

HI! I'M SUPER POOPER!

AND I'M WHIZZ KID!

AND WE ARE GOING TO SHOW YOU WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU NEED TO GO.

Parents in the throes of toilet training may well be moved to throw in the towel and seek help from superheroes, and in Eunice and Sabrina Moyle's little how-to board book with diecut pages, toddlers get to meet a pair of caped crusaders--Super Pooper and Whizz Kid!

Not only do these masked marvels have capes, but they have all the tips to how to earn that most desired of costume articles--big-kid underwear!

But first would-be super heroes need to learn some handy hints from their new role models! There's a secret sign that tells them just what to do when...
"There's ...

A RUMBLE IN MY BUMBLE...OR A DANCE IN MY PANTS!

Tots are encouraged to--
"JOIN THE MOVEMENT!"

There are touches of humor for grown ups along the way, and the authors also push reminders to flush, wipe, and wash hands well. Parents will be proud of their brand-new superheroes in the family and proudly complete the rest of the costume--
BIG BOY AND BIG GIRL PANTS!

Eunice and Sabrina Moyle's Super Pooper and Whizz Kid: Potty Power! (A Hello!Lucky Book) (Abrams Appleseed Books, 2018) offer some help with one of parenting's big milestones. It's a hard job but somebody's got to do it, and the authors offer wit and wisdom at just the right time. Kirkus Reviews says, "Jubilation and wonderfully bad bathroom puns ensue," and School Library Journal adds, ".. this hilarious take on an important early childhood collection staple is a must-have."

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Friday, October 04, 2019

Bedtime Backstory: How I Met My Monster by Amanda Noll

One night, when I reached under my bed for my truck, I found a this note instead:

MONSTERS! MEET HERE

FOR FINAL TEST.--Z

Ha! I don't believe in monsters!

My parents were obviously trying to make me stay in my bed!

Ethan is not deterred. He peers with great interest under his bed and is rewarded by the sight of five pairs of glowing eyes blinking back at him.

Oh, WOW! All thoughts of sleep vanish.
"This is no trick! There ARE monsters under my bed!"

This is COOL. But Monster Master Zee seems displeased with his apprentices for breaking Monster Rule #1: Maintain the element of surprise! Apparently scaring the kid into bed and keeping him there is job one for nighttime monsters.

Four of the motley little monsters fail at roaring and scaring Ethan back into bed. But Gabe, a big green monster, stares at Ethan's toes hungrily. His stomach rumbles. He starts dripping quantities of green drool....
I sprang into my bed.

This was SO much better than playing with my truck!

And that's the story of how a beautiful bedtime partnership began, in Amanda Noll's How I Met My Monster (I Need My Monster) (Flashlight Press, 2019), the backstory to her popular bedtime bogeyman stories, I Need My Monster and Hey, That's MY Monster! (I Need My Monster) (see reviews here).

Author Noll certainly provides the impetus for getting kids to hop in bed and stay there, but the droll, big-eyed Ethan and the pseudo-dreadful monsters under the bed done up believably by artist Howard McWilliam in pencil and acrylic make this series prime monster fodder for Halloween, --not to mention anytime bedtime stories for kids who need a reason to keep their feet in bed, well out of the way of what's under there. Says Kirkus reviews with a wink and nod, "Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone," and Booklist adds, "Reminiscent of the Pixar film Monsters, Inc..., for those children who are ready for a little scare, this is a clever, fun romp."

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