Ten Spooky Pumpkins by Gris Grimly

Cover image for 10 Spooky Pumpkins.

Ten Spooky Pumpkins by Gris Grimly (9781338112443)

Count backwards with plenty of Halloween creatures in this jaunty picture book full of autumn shadows. The ten pumpkins start us out by looking for a cat and finding 9. The black cats creep along the gate, finding eight bats. They discover seven goblins, then six ghosts, five wolves, and onward until we end up with everyone having a grand Halloween bash together. But the book isn’t done yet, as one round full moon rises in the sky, sending everyone running in fright. The little girl ends up fast asleep in bed, her Halloween candy nearby.

The text here is marvelously simple and has a merry rhythm and rhyme that bounces along nicely. That is combined with illustrations that are full of Halloween sights. All of the creatures are perfectly strange with snaggle toothed wolves, slinky black cats, flapping eerie bats, and whispy yet round ghosts. The creatures add to the strangeness of the book, bringing it fully into the Halloween spirit. With dark blacks, bright oranges and the light of the moon, the illustrations are full of seasonal colors.

A counting book sure to bring a Happy Halloween! Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Scholastic.

The Very Hungry Plant by Renato Moriconi

Cover image for The Very Hungry Plant.

The Very Hungry Plant by Renato Moriconi (9780802855763)

A little plant sprouted on one beautiful morning. The little plant was hungry! The sun couldn’t satisfy how hungry it was, because it was a carnivorous plant. It ate a caterpillar passing by. It ate a butterfly. The plant got bigger and hungrier. It ate a spider, a gecko, and a rabbit. It grew bigger and hungrier with each one. Then it ate a gymnast, an acrobat bear, and a parachuting cow. It even ate an entire airplane of parachuting cows. But it only got hungrier as it grew. It ate a flying mammoth, a bunch of witches, a UFO and a dragon. Finally, it ate an angel choir. Now it was finally satisfied, and stopped to rest. But the story doesn’t quite end there!

With a repeating structure and ever-increasing surreal silliness, this picture book is great fun. Readers will notice the nod to Eric Carle and his Very Hungry Caterpillar in the first part of the book, something that is marvelous to see incorporated so nicely. The carnivorous and voracious plant eats so many marvelous things, small and then so huge! The absurdity of it all is delightful as is the simplicity of the story and the twist at the end.

The illustrations are very simple as well, accompanied by hand-painted text that adds to the zany nature of the book. The plant stays an open, yawning mouth of green with red teeth-like cilia until it is finally satiated towards the end of the book. When it closes, the maw of hunger becomes almost docile, just in time for the ending.

Funny and immensely satisfying. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.