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AbigailAdams26

AbigailAdams26

Joined May 2021

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26

TinyCat library

Too Many Books, Even More Opinions
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AbigailAdams26
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Award-winning children's poet Joyce Sidman and engraver and small press operator Rick Allen join forces in this poetic picture-book examination of the lives of animals and plants in winter.

I enjoyed the poems here, and found the artwork absolutely lovely. My only disappointment was that there was no poem about the fox, seen on the cover, and on every page.

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AbigailAdams26
Hanna's Cold Winter | Trish Marx
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Narrated by young Tibor, this poignant picture-book explores the life of one Hungarian family before and during World War II, and their relationship to the hippopotamuses in the Budapest zoo, threatened with starvation during the course of the war.

Apparently based upon true events, related to author Trish Marx when she was visiting the Budapest zoo, “Hanna's Cold Winter“ presents an engaging family story, and a deeply moving historical drama.

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AbigailAdams26
First Night | Harriet Ziefert
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“Amanda Dade leads the parade“ in this rhyming New Year's picture-book from author Harriet Ziefert and illustrator S.D. Schindler.

This picture-book features a rhyming text with a repetitive sing-song structure, and striking artwork created using colored pencil and magic markers on midnight blue paper. Although not destined to become a personal favorite, it would make a good read-aloud for a New Year's story time.

AbigailAdams26 Note: this was originally published in hardcover as “First Night,“ and then in paperback as “Amanda Dade's New Year Parade.“ 2y
1 like1 comment
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AbigailAdams26
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Little Bear and his friends—Squeaky the mouse, Owl, Squirrel and Sparrow—are enjoying their Christmas gifts in this vintage picture-book from 1973, when the subject of New Year's comes up. Normally in hibernation at this time of year, Little Bear had never experienced a New Year's party, and nor had his friends...

This is a little text-heavy for a contemporary picture-book, but has a gently appealing story, and sweet illustrations.

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AbigailAdams26
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Squirrel sets out to discover what a resolution is and how to make one in this New Year's picture-book from author Pat Miller and illustrator Kathi Ember.

Although not entirely convinced by the story premise here—I would think that a resolution would have be a conscious goal, rather than an unconscious impulse, but perhaps that's just me—I nevertheless enjoyed the book. The story is sweet, and the artwork cute.

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AbigailAdams26
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Setting out for his uncle's wedding in this cumulative tale from multiple Latin American traditions, Rooster is confronted with a quandary when he comes across an appetizing kernel of corn. Should he eat the kernel, even though it will make his beak muddy, and therefore ruin his appearance?

I found this an enjoyable tale, and was reminded of many other such cumulative stories, in which a series of exchanges or other interactions become necessary.

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AbigailAdams26
Negative Cat | Sophie Blackall
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A young boy pleads with his parents for 427 days to be allowed to get a cat in this heartwarming picture-book from author/illustrator Sophie Blackall.

Having read and enjoyed a number of books about therapy reading dogs—see Lisa Papp's “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog“ and Maria Gianferrari's “Hello Goodbye Dog“—and loving the concept, I was absolutely charmed to discover from this book that there are also therapy reading cat programs! Yay!

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AbigailAdams26
Pillow Places | Joseph Kuefler
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Two young boys enjoy a sleepover party in this sweetly engaging picture-book from author/illustrator Joseph Kuefler. Although not the equal of Kuefler's earlier work in my estimation, this is nevertheless an engaging title, exploring the friendship and imaginative play of young children. The text is simple and spare, but also poetic, and the artwork expressive. I particularly loved the little black cat which can be seen on every two-page spread.

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AbigailAdams26
Mouse & Lion | Rand Burkert
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Rand and Nancy Ekholm Burkert retell the classic Aesopian fable “The Lion and the Mouse“ in this delightful picture-book, set in the Aha hills on the border of Botswana and Namibia. The narrative here is engaging, fleshing out the interaction between mouse and lion in a convincing way, but it is the artwork that particularly stands out. I also appreciated the choice to put the mouse first in the title, as it is he who is the true hero of the tale.

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AbigailAdams26
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A somewhat revised version of a traditional English folktale from Northumberland, originally known as The Hedley Kow, and contained in Joseph Jacobs' 1904 collection, “More English Fairy Tales.“ I enjoyed the telling of the tale, and appreciated the vividly appealing artwork, particularly the depiction of the Brindlebeast in his monstrous form.

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AbigailAdams26
Christina's Carol | Tomie DePaola
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Christina Rossetti's beautiful Christmas poem, In the Bleak Midwinter, provides the text for this lovely seasonal picture-book from artist Tomie dePaola. The words of the poem—also a beloved Christmas carol–are paired with illustrations in a variety of styles, all depicting the Nativity Story. I enjoyed both text and artwork here. Just beautiful!

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AbigailAdams26
Lights on Wonder Rock | David Litchfield
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A young girl's dearest wish is granted, and she meets and befriends an alien, waiting all of her life for another encounter. The story here is appealing, entertaining, and ultimately heartwarming, with an important message about dreaming big, and looking out into the cosmos, but also staying tethered to the things in one's own life, particularly family, that are most important. The accompanying artwork is absolutely enchanting.

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AbigailAdams26
Tooth Fairy in Training | Michelle Robinson, Briony May Smith
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A little fairy named Tate is trained in the proper way to be a Tooth Fairy by her older sister May in this rhyming British picture-book from author Michelle Robinson and illustrator Briony May Smith. This was enjoyable, and I liked the idea of it, but somehow, it didn't strike quite the chord with me, that I hoped it would. Tastes vary of course, so those seeking tooth fairy tales might still want to check it out. The artwork is adorable.

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AbigailAdams26
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Author/illustrator Phoebe Wahl follows the eponymous Little Witch Hazel through the four seasons in this delightful picture storybook, depicting a woodland world full of enchantment and friendship. I sought this one out (and had it recommended to me) largely on the strength of my interest in witchy picture-books, but having now read it, I think Hazel is less of a witch, in the traditional sense, and more of an elf or woodland sprite.

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AbigailAdams26
The Galleon | Ronald Welch
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Originally published in 1971, “The Galleon“ is the third of the Carey Family Chronicles, a loose collection of novels by British children's author Ronald Welch, all featuring members of the Carey family, in various capacities, and during various periods of history. I found it an immensely engaging work of historical fiction, and entered immediately into the story.

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AbigailAdams26
Hardly Haunted | Jessie Sima
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A lonely old house on a hill worries that she might be haunted in this delightfully spooky picture-book from author/artist Jessie Sima. Desiring a resident family who will can give her companionship, she does everything she can to resist seeming haunted, until a windy night when she discovers that being haunted isn't so bad. A heartwarming story is paired with cute artwork here, and I found the whole thing immensely enjoyable!

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AbigailAdams26
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This picture-book tells the story of a terrible drought year, when the potato crop was decimated, and a small Jewish shtetl was running out of food, right around Hanukkah time. Tante Golda, known for her delicious latkes, is generous to a wandering beggar, despite her own poverty, and is rewarded in turn. I enjoyed the expressive artwork here and appreciated the story of the latke miracle, which parallels the miracle of the Hanukkah story itself.

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Author/illustrator Marilyn Hirsh takes the folkloric story of the wanderer who creates a delicious dish from seemingly nothing - tale type 1548 in the Aarne–Thompson–Uther folktale classification system, it is most commonly known through such tales as Stone Soup - and gives it an Eastern European Jewish shtetl setting in this picture-book for Hanukkah. I enjoyed both the narrative and the vintage artwork here.

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AbigailAdams26
Thanksgiving in the Woods | Phyllis Alsdurf
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Based upon an annual community Thanksgiving feast held in the woods on an upstate New York farm, this lovely seasonal picture-book from American author Phyllis Alsdurf and Norwegian illustrator Jenny Løvlie is a pleasure to peruse. I loved the idea behind this book, and I found the narrative engaging and the artwork lovely (appropriately enough). I only wish that the real-life story which inspired this fictional narrative was explored more fully.

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AbigailAdams26
A Turkey for Thanksgiving | Eve Bunting, Diane De Groat
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When Mrs. Moose expresses a desire to have a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner in this humorous seasonal picture-book, Mr. Moose sets out to fulfill her wish, but finds to his surprise that Turkey is not so enthusiastic. Young readers and listeners will immediately understand Turkey's motivation here, and will enjoy being in on the joke. Very sensitive audiences might find the story somewhat distressing, so adults should be aware of that.

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Children's poet and poetry anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins presents twenty Thanksgiving poems in this lovely little collection, with the poetic selections paired with black and white illustrations from Ben Shecter. I enjoyed most of the poem here, both for the themes they explore and for their well-constructed form and readability. “Thanksgiving Magic“ by Rowena Bastin Bennett and Alice Crowell Hoffman's “November's Gift“ were some favorites.

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Lydia Maria Child's classic New England Thanksgiving poem, which first appeared in 1844, is given a modern treatment by illustrator Nadine Bernard Westcott in this fun seasonal picture-book. I appreciated the fact that Westcott has “updated“ the Thanksgiving journey described in the poem—her family are modern city dwellers, and drive a modern car—while still retaining the traditional elements in the song, such as horse-drawn sleighs.

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Thanksgiving with Me | Margaret Willey
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A sweet picture-book about a little girl who looks forward to her family Thanksgiving, when all of her uncles will gather. I don't know that this is destined to become a holiday favorite of mine, but I do like that it captures a young child's eagerness for holiday visitors, something I remember experiencing as a girl myself.

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Wishes | Muon Thi Van
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A powerful, deeply moving picture-book about being a refugee. Sparse text and understated but beautiful artwork are flawlessly matched. A really superb example of the picture-book form. I was moved to tears.

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AbigailAdams26
Bowman of Crcy | Ronald Welch
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The second installment of Ronald Welch's “Carey Family Novels“ series, following upon “Crusader Knight.“ Like its predecessor, an immensely engrossing, entertaining read, one that makes you feel as if you are in the thick of it, during the Hundred Years War. My edition is from Slightly Foxed—I bought the whole set—and is gorgeous!

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A wonderful picture-book retelling of a Norwegian folktale. I found the story engaging and the artwork from Gennady Spirin gorgeous!

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An engaging picture-book examination of the life cycle of the dragonfly. The narrative here is simple and descriptive, suitable for younger children, while more detailed information is presented in the back matter. The artwork is appealing, with lovely colors and beautifully delicate dragonfly depictions.

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“Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book“ was awarded a Pura Belpré Award for illustration and a Pura Belpré Honor for Narrative—two distinctions that were very much deserved. The artwork was gorgeous and the story humorous and heartwarming. Who knew skeletons could be so appealing?!

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A fun parody of the classic bedtime book, “Goodnight Moon.“ I appreciated the parallel of rhythm and theme, to Margaret Wise Brown's book, and I think young listeners will be amused by the monstrous hi-jinks. Although no mention is made of Halloween, this would be an excellent bedtime book for that time of year, I think.

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Halloween Is Coming! | Cal Everett
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Published earlier this year (2021), this is a sweet new picture-book to add to the Halloween shelf. The rhyming text reads smoothly, and the cute, colorful artwork holds the reader's attention. I appreciated the diversity of children depicted in Wen's illustrations, and I enjoyed her use of color throughout.

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Bears in the Night | Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain
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A fun Berenstain Bears early reader, featuring prepositions and a nighttime foray to Spook's Hill. I didn't encounter this one a child, but if I had, I would have loved its tale of sneaking out at night!

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AbigailAdams26
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I appreciated the message here—that some children don't enjoy the scarier aspects of Halloween, and that we should accept people as they are—but the delivery felt a little wanting. I think the problem is that the narrative is divided between the pumpkin's story and the human one, with neither feeling particularly convincing. Tastes vary of course, so those in the market for new Halloween board books might want to take a look.

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Cookie Boo | Ruth Paul
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An entertaining Halloween tale in rhyme, about the madcap adventures of a group of cookies, who go on the run, saying “Boo!“ to everyone they meet. A text that's lots of fun to read aloud is paired with bright, colorful artwork.

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I found myself tearing up, while reading this one. A deeply moving look at the “Survivor Tree“ - the Callery pear that survived being buried by the rubble of the World Trade Center. A poignant story, and beautiful artwork.

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Trick Or Treat, Bugs to Eat | Tracy Gold, Nancy Leschnikoff
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An appealing mixture of fictional and nonfictional elements, “Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat“ is one Halloween book that manages to be both entertaining and educational. I liked the fact that author Tracy C. Gold took one of the classic creatures of Halloween and explored its own nighttime “trick or treating“ experiences, in a non-anthropomorphic, biological way. The accompanying artwork from Nancy Leschnikoff is colorful and cute.

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AbigailAdams26
Not Very Scary | Carol Brendler
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A fun counting book and cumulative tale for Halloween, as Melly the monster makes her way to her cousin Malberta's party. Greg Pizzoli's cartoon-like illustrations are as entertaining as always.

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AbigailAdams26
The Witch's New Britches | Tracy Watland
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I found myself somewhat put off by the story here - I expected silly humor, but instead found the idea of two women fighting over underwear in a store rather sad. The text was frequently awkward, with rhymes that felt forced and a rhythm that stumbled. The artwork was likewise unappealing, done in a cartoon-like style that was not to my taste. All in all, although glad to add it my “witchy-witches“ shelf, this is not one I strongly recommend.

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ABCs of Halloween | Patricia Reeder Eubank
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I had never heard of author/illustrator Patti Reeder Eubank before an online friend's recent review of “ABCs of Halloween,“ but I'm glad to have discovered her work. The rhyming text here read well, introducing lots of interesting Halloween vocabulary, while the illustrations were appealing—colorful and cute, with two adorable feline stars. Not surprisingly, the witchy scenes were some of my favorites, particularly the one attached to letter Q.

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AbigailAdams26
The Halloween Tree | Susan Montanari
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This one was unexpectedly poignant. Author Susan Montanari does an excellent job capturing both the tree's grumpy misanthropy, and the gradual process whereby he warms up to people and their celebrations. I liked the solution found - now he can be decorated himself, as the eponymous Halloween Tree! - and I thought the accompanying artwork from illustrator Teresa Martínez was colorful and cute.

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AbigailAdams26
The Jersey Devil | James F. McCloy, Ray Miller
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I found The Jersey Devil, first published in 1976, to be immensely informative, engaging and well-written. It is fascinating to me that this creature has been seen by so many people over the years, some of them very prominent citizens, and that is was seen by large groups of people during the incidents in 1909. I appreciated the inclusion of various illustrations of the Devil, over the years, as well as the detailed maps chronicling his sitings.

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A charming picture-book retelling of Goethe's classic poem about a sorcerer's apprentice, who misuses his master's magical knowledge, and creates chaos. I really loved the artwork here!

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Trick Or Treat | Antoinette Corley-Newman
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This was an interesting one! I didn't know about the Switch Witch tradition, in which said witch visits children after Halloween, to trade a present for some of the candy they collected. This original pourquoi story explains how the Switch Witch came to be. The artwork from Jordanian illustrator Noor Alshalabi was cute, and reminded me of Xindi Yan's illustrations, in “The Itty-Bitty Witch“.

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AbigailAdams26
Imelda & the Goblin King | Briony May Smith
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I didn't enjoy this one as much as I had hoped to, given how much I loved Briony May Smith's “Margaret's Unicorn.“ The artwork wasn't as charming (too busy), and the story wasn't as heartwarming. In the end this was just a moderately enjoyable but ultimately forgettable original fairy-tale, one of hundreds that I have read.

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AbigailAdams26
Ten Flying Brooms | Ilanit Oliver
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Despite the cute witchy artwork from illustrator Kyle Poling - I have a weakness for witchy visuals - I did not enjoy this one, finding the text clunky and unappealing. Ilanit Oliver's rhythm here was just off, and her rhymes felt forced. Books in this vein that I do recommend include: Jennifer O'Connell's “Ten Timid Ghosts“, Teri Sloat's “Zip! Zoom! On a Broom“, Carole Gerber's “10 Busy Brooms“, or Gris Grimly's recent “10 Spooky Pumpkins“.

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AbigailAdams26
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A cute rhyming board book for Halloween, in which a little girl is determined to catch a witch, in order to hitch a ride to the stars. The cute, colorful artwork shows that the witch is always one step ahead.

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Cranberry Halloween | Wende Devlin, Harry Devlin
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Another entry in Wende and Harry Devlin's Cranberryport picture-book series, about the residents of a small New England town, and their various seasonal celebrations. It has all of the charm of the others, with a quirky cast of small town characters, a fun story, and appealing, old-fashioned illustrations. The Halloween elements - the costumes, the haunted house, the seasonal party - were quite charming.

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When Pumpkins Fly | Margaret Lawrence
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An Inhabit Media title devoted to the Halloween festivities in a small Inuit town in Nunavut. I enjoyed “When Pumpkins Fly,“ in part because it offers a glimpse into the celebration of Halloween in a community that is unfamiliar to me. I wish there had been more exploration of the tunnaat - creatures of Inuit folklore - who came out on Halloween, but leaving that aside, this was very enjoyable.

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AbigailAdams26
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Not a winner. I was indifferent to author Jim Schisgall's story here, thought his writing was clunky, and found John Timmins' cartoon-like artwork quite unappealing. As someone who is interested in witchy picture-books - a perennial pet project of mine - I'm glad to have read this, but I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to seek out the sequel, “The SandWitch Saves Christmas!,“ or to recommend it to other readers.

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The Itty Bitty Witch | Trisha Speed Shaskan
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I had mixed feelings about Trisha Speed Shaskan's story here - I liked the way she explored the feelings of a student being bullied, but I thought that the way in which Betty won the race was quite problematic. The artwork from Xindi Yan on the other hand, was a complete positive. Colorful, cute, and expressive!

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Halloween Night | Marjorie Dennis Murray
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Using Clement C. Moore's classic poem “The Night Before Christmas“ as a starting point, author Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrator Brandon Dorman create an entertaining Halloween treat in this seasonal picture-book. This is the witch, alerting her compatriots that the trick-or-treaters are on their way.