Sweet, surreal, and contemplative.

SATO THE RABBIT

A child’s vivid imagination transforms everyday activities into magical interactions.

This Japanese import emphasizes perspectives—especially those belonging to children who improvise and innovate on prosaic tasks and the minutiae of daily life. At the outset, Haneru Sato, a pale-skinned, black-haired lad, adopts both the identity and the likeness of a rabbit, thereby embracing alternate ways of experiencing the world. As he tends to the garden, a blue hose winds, looking rather like a stream, along a bucolic, tree-studded landscape with romping animals. It ultimately leads to an anthropomorphic pond that not only “blows water into the hose as hard as it can,” but also recedes “back to being its tiny, peaceful self at Sato’s playful signal that he’s done. Similarly charming artwork illustrates the interconnectedness among nature, children, and creativity in six other episodic expeditions featuring distinct themes: “A Sea of Grass”; “A Night of Stars”; “Watermelon” (used as a boat); “A Window to the Sky”; “Walnuts” (envisioned as coffee shop, bakery, and much more); and “Forest Ice” (evoking multicolored frozen treats in various flavors). Alongside Sato, readers travel through the seasons while sharing his myriad, surprising lenses on the universe. The journey culminates in a homecoming when Sato settles into bed, cozily “sipping stories late into the night.” The painterly illustrations suggest homage to Where the Wild Things Are, works by Eric Carle, and others.

Sweet, surreal, and contemplative. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59270-318-0

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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