A pleasant seek-and-find outing for children who enjoy this format and an intriguing introduction to the concept for younger...

BEAR'S MERRY BOOK OF HIDDEN THINGS

CHRISTMAS SEEK-AND-FIND

A little bear gets ready for a Christmas party by searching for 22 hidden items in this seek-and-find offering.

Bear needs lots of supplies for his party, especially decorations and sweet treats for his guests. The small, brown bear appears at the bottom of each spread with two or three lines of text per page describing his current search and inviting readers to participate. Bear looks for a horn at a Christmas market, an unwrapped box in a pile of presents, and a Christmas stocking in a messy mix-up of mittens. Decoration searches include a wreath hidden at a Christmas-tree lot, holly leaves secreted among green garlands, and a treetop star concealed in a field of foxes. All 22 special items appear in use at the concluding party scene, along with animal friends that have appeared within previous searches. Detailed illustrations in candy-bright colors offer cleverly concealed quests that require quite a bit of concentration to solve, and younger children may need assistance from caregivers to find all the items. A somewhat ungainly title and an overly busy cover design are not as appealing as the inside pages that depict Bear’s searches and party scene.

A pleasant seek-and-find outing for children who enjoy this format and an intriguing introduction to the concept for younger kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-257078-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 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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