Readers with a generous tolerance for quirkiness will find that this seasonal tale, that’s also a bit about little brothers,...

PENGUIN AND PUMPKIN

Penguin, always visible with his orange scarf, wonders what fall looks like in other places—and so does his little brother, Pumpkin.

Penguin and friends shove off on an ice floe to find fall, but Pumpkin is too small to come along. After some floating, they find a farm, which is full of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. But what really captivates Penguin is the multicolored leaves falling everywhere. Riding in a hollowed-out pumpkin, the group tows another one that’s full of treasures (including books) back home, along with a treat that will show little Pumpkin just what fall looks like. The lines and shapes are muscular and graphic, and the palette is dominated, of course, by shades of orange and the blues and whites of ocean and ice. Pumpkin himself, meanwhile, has imagined fall in a number of other sorts of places with his “space-tacular imagination.” All the penguins have hats or mufflers or glasses or other distinguishing accessories in this series’ odd sort of anthropomorphic community.

Readers with a generous tolerance for quirkiness will find that this seasonal tale, that’s also a bit about little brothers, adventures and the endless diversity of pumpkins, hits the spot. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3732-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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