Quirky, playful, affirming fun! (Picture book. 3-7)

LEAH'S MUSTACHE PARTY

A little girl’s pirate costume inspires a love of mustaches, which her mother happily indulges.

Leah dresses up like a pirate for Halloween but thinks her costume is missing a certain something until her mother draws a mustache on her face. She experiences a bit of a letdown the next day but then decides “that it did not need to be Halloween to have fun and dress up,” and her mother obliges when asked to draw another mustache on her face. No one objects to her gender-bending dress-up play, though some kids briefly take pause when she invites them to the titular “mustache party” for her birthday. When asked why she chose this theme (instead of a princess or a fairy party), Leah simply responds, “Because I think mustaches are cool!” Self-assured and exuberant, Leah enjoys a very happy birthday with friends and family. Although the text specifies neither cultural context nor setting, the author is Inuit, and her photo alongside her red-haired daughter Leah’s suggest that illustrator Chua based her illustrations of the fictional Leah and her mom on them. Illustrated clues in the setting, including snowy scenes on Halloween, mukluks stored near gloves and a jacket in a friend’s house, and small buildings close together and linked by power lines, evoke the author’s First Nations home of Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Quirky, playful, affirming fun! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-7722-7081-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more