Grab a helmet and a caregiver or friend, then—go! (Board book. 2-4)

GO, BIKES, GO!

From the Vehicles in Motion series

Over 50 bikes of all sizes, shapes, and purposes wheel across and even off the 20 pages of this compact board book.

Little ones will study the busy illustrations of exotic versions of this iconic means of transportation. An invitation to count—“Old bikes. / New bikes. / Built-for-two bikes. // Bikes with three wheels. / Bikes with four. / Doesn’t that bike need one more?”—is paired with a picture of a brown-skinned, helmet-wearing child popping a wheelie and followed by a dog pushing the bike’s missing front wheel. The same dog can be found on every spread, and every bike rider is wearing a helmet. The bikes are historical (a pennyfarthing high-wheeler) or fantastical (bikes disguised as a ladybug, shark, and even eyeglasses). One even has eight shoes spaced around each wheel instead of conventional tires. All are recognizable as bikes, even by toddlers still limited to scoot bikes or tricycles. The colorful and active graphics clearly convey the excitement, freedom, and joy bike riding brings to this multicultural cast. Two minor quibbles: The details are small, limiting enjoyment to children with fairly well-developed eyesight; and unfortunately, the black tires of a fairly magnificent pony-bike are lost against a dark background and the training wheels on that bike are distorted. Otherwise, it’s ready to roll.

Grab a helmet and a caregiver or friend, then—go! (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-220-4

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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