The glittery cover and promise of mermaids may attract readers initially, but there is little here to lure them for repeated...

THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING MERMAIDS

This second Tiptoe Guide (The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, 2010) has readers scouring the seashore for mermaids and imagining what their lives must be like.

Not a story, but not a guidebook in the traditional sense either, this is more of a fits-and-starts foray into imagination that may leave many of its readers behind. Listen to a conch shell’s secrets, search a tidal pool for evidence of baby mermaids, imagine shells as mermaid jewelry, sand dollars as money and ocean plants as food, with crabs scrounging the leftovers. But the author goes beyond readers’ reach, as the mermaids play with dolphins, swim amid the coral and carry out their daily activities (primping, napping, shopping) on the ocean floor. While Paquette’s first capitalized on the popularity of fairy houses and the easy accessibility of most to the great outdoors, this latest narrows its readership by focusing on the ocean. It further disappoints this limited audience by highlighting beachcombing finds that are relatively rare, if not geographically impossible: perfect sand dollars and conch shells, ocean plants, tidal pools—not to mention the warm-enough-for-a-bathing-suit but nonetheless deserted, beach. Letourneau layers her fanciful watercolor mermaids atop beautiful photographs, which gives a jarring feel to the artwork. Further, when the text asks readers, “Can you see any mermaids anywhere?” she makes no effort at hiding them.

The glittery cover and promise of mermaids may attract readers initially, but there is little here to lure them for repeated readings. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-933718-59-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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