Patient seekers will enjoy this Halloween party; others should steer clear.

BEAR'S SPOOKY BOOK OF HIDDEN THINGS

HALLOWEEN SEEK-AND-FIND

Readers follow Bear on Halloween, searching for treats in this seek-and-find title.

Bear and his forest-animal friends are surrounded by autumnal sights and colors in Dudás’ boldly colored cartoon spreads, from piles of hay, corn, leaves, and bones to a field of tractors at the pumpkin patch and a cemetery packed with gravestones. Brief text continues the thin story of Bear and his pals and gives them (and readers) something to search for in each picture: a spider-ring party favor, a masquerade mask, a pocket watch. Flat colors and no shadows facilitate seeking, but it’s still not supereasy: There’s no answer key, though all the items can be found in Bear’s room at the end, and readers may need to see the gourd there in order to spot it in a crowded pumpkin patch. Children will search in vain, however, for the honeycomb that the opening statement (mis)leads readers to believe will be at every shindig. Though adorable, the animals are expressionless (and mouthless), and all animals of each species share the same costume: The raccoons are “mad scientists,” the owls are scarecrows, the deer are witches, etc.; Bear is the only bee. The animals labelled skunks, however, are pictured as badgers. In the end, Bear does get his honeycomb: His friends have found some and delivered it to the final party—at his house. Readers will wonder where it came from.

Patient seekers will enjoy this Halloween party; others should steer clear. (Novelty picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-257079-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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