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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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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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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