Fans of the author’s previous monkey titles will welcome this silly new tale, but adults wishing for a safety message...

FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS TRICK-OR-TREAT

Christelow’s rambunctious monkeys are decked out in their costumes and ready to play an elaborate trick that may end up jeopardizing any treats they might receive.

Mama makes sure her little ones are ready when Lulu the babysitter arrives to take them out on Halloween night. Their costumes: banana, alien, ghost, goblin and princess. “Don’t lose the rascals!” Mama cautions. All goes well until one monkey decides to switch costumes with a friend. Now that monkey is a blue bunny instead of an alien. The other monkeys think this is “SO funny” and follow suit. Though Lulu notices, like all great babysitters, she does not spoil the fun—at first. But the look in her eye foreshadows a comeuppance for her young charges. Suddenly Lulu announces that it is time for the new banana, ghost, goblin, alien and princess to go. “We have to get home for a big Halloween treat!” Suddenly, the disguised monkeys worry that they are going to miss something special and quickly follow Lulu and their friends to the house. Crafty Lulu and wise Mama soon sort out the confusion, and the mischievous bunch is quickly forgiven as they sample some tricky treats of eyeball cookies and worm juice.

Fans of the author’s previous monkey titles will welcome this silly new tale, but adults wishing for a safety message warning against similar copycat antics will be disappointed. (recipes) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-85893-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places.

A GIFT FOR NANA

All gifts are perfect when they come from the heart.

Rabbit goes on a “journey through a green and grand forest” in order to get a gift for his nana even though it is “not even a major hare holiday.” He travels very far in search of the perfect gift and encounters many new friends whom he asks for help. Each of them proffers Rabbit something they can easily make or acquire: The moon offers a “crescent smile,” a whale proposes a glass of water, and so on. Ultimately, Rabbit finds the perfect gift for Nana all on his own, and his nana absolutely adores it. Although the story is a bit predictable, it is amusing—readers will laugh at the anthropomorphic volcano’s explosion and Rabbit’s exhaustion from his journey, among other chucklesome scenes. Smith’s gesso, oil, and cold wax illustrations are exquisite and almost ethereal. The friendly, many-eyed creature referred to as a “stickler” is at once haunting and intriguing. The moon is Tim Burton–esque and seems to glow and pop off the page. Pleased with his choice of gift, Rabbit has the moon’s smile on his face. The predominance of full-bleed double-page spreads accentuates Rabbit’s long quest. The different font sizes, styles, and colors will aid emerging readers with diction when reading aloud but might prove difficult for those with dyslexia. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43033-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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