Maybe… by Chris Haughton

Cover image for Maybe…

Maybe… by Chris Haughton (9781536220247)

When the older monkey leaves, they warn the three little monkeys to NOT go down to the mango tree because there are tigers down there. But the little monkeys can’t stop thinking about how much they love mangos. Maybe… they could just head down and look. They see no tigers and a mango close enough to reach. They keep a close look out and quickly grab the mango. Yum! But what happens when they decide to have more mangoes and stop being careful? Tigers!

Haughton’s picture book about naughty and curious monkeys is a great read aloud. The text is made up solely of the monkeys’ dialogue with one another, so make sure you have at least four monkey voices at hand! With simple text, Haughton creates a book full of building tension that also offers a wild chase scene that will have readers merrily gasping along with the monkeys, before a final twist.

As always, Haughton’s illustrations are bold and bright. The deep blue monkeys stand out against the red backgrounds. Their simple and funny faces shine with their emotions as they pursue delicious mangos. The book expands its colors to mango yellow, rich oranges and purple/pink trees.

Gasps, giggles and glee accompany the monkeys on their adventure. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Candlewick.

Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

Cover image for Garlic and the Vampire.

Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen (9780062995094)

Garlic works at the farm market with the other living vegetables brought to life by the witch. Garlic tends to stressed and anxious, and is even more so when she accidentally sleeps in again on market day. The next day, the witch encourages Garlic to try using some magic to get her garlic to grow, encouraging Garlic to look beyond helping her in the garden too. But Garlic doesn’t want adventures at all, she’s much happier staying on the farm. So when a vampire moves into the abandoned castle nearby, it seems that Garlic is exactly the right one to send to get rid of him. After all, vampires can’t abide garlic.

This debut graphic novel for children is a look at anxiety and stress, all in one garlicky wrapper. With one bully on the farm to contend with, Garlic can’t seem to see the kindness of the others around her, instead getting fretful, sleeping too much, and doubting her own abilities. When she is sent on her mission, she finds her footing and eventually takes care of it in her own special way, making the ending satisfying on multiple levels.

The art style is unique and is something that will draw readers into the story. It has a great vintage feel to it from the classic vampire to the vegetables themselves. The humanoid veggies are marvelous characters, their emotions clear on both their faces and in their body language. The book plays characters that one might be afraid of against their tropes, showing dimensions to them in inventive ways both in the storyline and in the images.

A cozy graphic novel full of witches and vampires. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Quill Tree Books.