A welcome Chinese addition to the fairy-tale shelf.

GOLDY LUCK AND THE THREE PANDAS

Goldy Luck, not an especially lucky child, is awoken by her mother one Chinese New Year and sent to the neighbors’ to wish them “Kung Hei Fat Choi” and deliver a plate of turnip cakes.

Tired and hungry, and thinking of the neighbor boy who doesn’t share, she is reluctant, but she takes her mother’s advice seriously: To avoid bad luck in the new year, she must resolve arguments and be kind. Though no one is home at the Chans’, she enters—and drops the cakes. In trying to clean up, she follows the typical “Goldilocks” storyline, eating the Chans’ congee, breaking a chair, falling asleep in a bed. When the Chans (anthropomorphized pandas) return home, the embarrassed Goldy runs away, but her conscience gets the better of her. In a moral addendum, Goldy returns to the Chans’ to put things right, forming a friendship with Little Chan in the process. Zong’s acrylic illustrations bring Goldy’s culture to life through small details in the households as well as the Chinese New Year parade glimpsed through the doors and windows, though some of the details (Mr. Chan’s massage chair) may seem stereotypical. An author’s note explains more about Chinese New Year and is followed by a chart, unfortunately yearless, of the Chinese zodiac and concludes with a recipe for turnip cakes.

A welcome Chinese addition to the fairy-tale shelf. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-652-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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SCAREDY SQUIRREL HAS A BIRTHDAY PARTY

From the Scaredy Squirrel series , Vol. 5

When Scaredy Squirrel plans a party, he concentrates on maximum security, not maximum fun. His checklist: "Confirm date of birth; pick a safe location; choose party colors; get tuxedo dry-cleaned; prepare cake recipe; practice breathing (to blow up balloons/blow out candles); mail party invitation to myself." That's right—there’s only one guest at Scaredy's birthday party, and it's himself. But when his chum Buddy sends him a birthday card, he reconsiders his guest list to include his pal, even making the momentous decision to hold his party on the ground instead of in his tree. Replete with the lists and diagrams that are this OCD rodent's hallmarks, the story unfolds with both humor and some useful etiquette tips. From conversational gambits (good: "If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?"; bad: "Is that a muskrat on your head? Oops... it's a toupee") to the "dos and don'ts of partying" (do: sit quietly; don't: double-dip), kids will find much to laugh at and think about. Typically (for a Scaredy adventure), despite a plan so complete it includes tooth-brushing breaks, a surprise happens—party animals show up! Watt’s wry digital illustrations make the most of the perceived mayhem, using a host of graphic conventions to tell her story. There's no question it's a formula by now, but it's still a winning one. Many happy returns, Scaredy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-468-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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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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