Sweet and silly—good enough for Halloween

CLICK, CLACK, BOO!

A TRICKY TREAT

The barnyard animals love Halloween. Farmer Brown does not. Sounds like the perfect time for tricks and treats!

Since Farmer Brown wants nothing to do with the scary holiday, “he leaves a bowl of candy on the porch….draws the shades and locks the door.” Out in the barn, though, the party is just getting started. Saturated watercolors show Cow dressed as a skeleton, the chickens looking quite ghostly and the sheep donning witch hats. As field mice and cats arrive, creepy sounds begin. The “crunch, crunch, crunching” and the “creak, creak, creaking” lead to a “tap, tap, tapping.” Hearing them, Farmer Brown peeks out his window to investigate. Readers will chuckle and easily recognize “the dark creature standing beneath the trees.” The farmer, however, runs to his bedroom to pull the covers up over his head. Now the sounds repeat, as the figure comes closer. This time, though, the tapping is followed by a “quack, quack, quackle.” Wait—“Quackle??” Farmer Brown goes out to the porch to find the candy bowl gone and a note on the door announcing, “Halloween Party at the barn!” The chorus of onomatopoeic phrases throughout the briskly paced text guarantees an interactive read-aloud, though fans of Duck’s earlier outings will miss their satiric bite.

Sweet and silly—good enough for Halloween . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6553-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.

SEÑORITA MARIPOSA

A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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