Applause for this very silly and slightly spooky cool cat that follows his own beat! (Picture book. 4-6)

SKELETON CAT

Rhyming verse unfolds in hip-hop rhythm to describe the humorous antics of a most likable, bony feline in this tale of pursuing a dream no matter what.

A dramatic zap of lightning opens the story and magically awakens a cat from the grave. When the wind blows in a notice about a drumming audition, the cat rattles and rollicks out of the cemetery and through the city—alarming adults and impressing school kids along the way. When he arrives, the motley band is skeptical at first: “…they called him nuts. / ’Cause ‘You’re not gonna make it / if you ain’t got guts!’ ” Skeleton Cat responds with his refrain, “He went: / Rattle, rattle. Clink, clink. / Rattle, rattle, clink. / Tip tap. Clickety-clack. / Ka-plink, / ka-plink, / ka-plink.” Krall matches Crow’s energetic text with a palette of contrasting graveyard-emerald greens and bright, urban pinky reds set against jet black backgrounds. Just this side of garish, the vibrant palette perfectly focuses readers on the cool white skeleton of the aspiring drummer. The digitally rendered, cartoony art coupled with the “undercat” theme is sure to inspire an entertaining and highly interactive storytime. A warning for those reading this aloud: really practice that finale jam.

 Applause for this very silly and slightly spooky cool cat that follows his own beat! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-15385-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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