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From the Little Traveler series

Good manners travel well in this board book for preschool linguists.

A brief, age-appropriate introduction to eight common world languages for toddler travelers.

Following the formula established in How Hippo Says Hello and How Gator Says Good-Bye (both 2014), Samoun tackles manners with a nondidactic and international flair. Without scolding, this book and its companion title, How Tiger Says Thank You, demonstrate courtesies common to cultures all over the world. The same eight countries (France, Russia, Egypt, India, China, Japan, Argentina, and the United States) are included in each book. A phonetic pronunciation guide is provided below each word, though sometimes the transliteration is as puzzling as the actual spelling. (Readers may find themselves wondering how to pronounce “ZHA” or “TCH.”) Smiling cartoon animals show the influence of the illustrator's prior experience as a designer for Carter's baby clothes and International Greetings. Background illustrations in muted hues hint at the flavor of each country while keeping readers focused on the words in speech bubbles. Tourist sites are not identified, though well-traveled adults may recognize many of the locations (the Hermitage in Russia, Mount Fuji in Japan, the pyramids in Egypt). The travel map on the last spread is identical in each book; perhaps the animals are traveling together.

Good manners travel well in this board book for preschool linguists. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1496-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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