A comforting lesson for kids that the things that we fear are only as large or small as we make them.

TRAP THE MONSTER!

Children turn the tables on an impressive array of not-too-scary monsters in this interactive celebration of toddler empowerment imported from France.

Young readers show a big bad wolf, a toothy sea serpent, a furry four-eyed monster, a vampire, and a growling ogre who’s boss in this clever board book. Each four-page encounter begins, on verso, with the question, “If you are afraid of this [wolf/monster/etc.]…”; this is followed by the instruction to “…turn the page…” on recto. On the page to be turned is a die-cut pattern. Four rectangular cutouts that serve as tree trunks on recto prove to be the bars of a jail cell in which the wolf from the previous spread is imprisoned on verso, for example. The facing page exclaims, “You sent it to jail! Now lock the door with the key.” Similarly, an enormous “sea dragon” menaces a boat with a die-cut sail in one scene, but after a turn of the page, the dragon’s startled head peers out from under the lid of a simmering pot on a stovetop. “Good job! You put it in a pot! Now you can cook it with potatoes!” Cartoonishly rendered characters with big eyes, outsized jaws and teeth, and lots of personality provide the perfect blend of ferocity and silliness. Bright colors and the clever cutout gimmicks add visual appeal.

A comforting lesson for kids that the things that we fear are only as large or small as we make them. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-945-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Interactive features carry this unicorn board book for toddlers.

MY MAGICAL UNICORN

From the My Magical Friends series

Unicorns, rainbows, and interactive features come together in this durable board book.

A perky unicorn graces the cover, and the wheel integrated in the cover page can be used to rotate the sparkly, colorful lines on her rainbow mane, tail, and hooves for a pleasant striped effect. “A unicorn skipped out one day, / spreading magic on her way.” The rainbow unicorn wanders through her enchanted land, chasing away the clouds, stopping rain, and fixing torn fairy wings. Text is sparse, just one sentence-cum-couplet on each of the four double-page spreads, offering little substance for toddlers and not fully connecting with the illustrations. Cartoony illustrations are colorful yet simplistic, reminiscent of animated children’s television programming. Wafting clouds of stars represent unicorn magic, with birds, flowers, pale-skinned fairies, butterflies, and other insects scattered throughout. The final double-page spread shows a herd of unicorns of different colors frolicking together. Beyond the wheel on the cover, other interactive mechanisms include smooth pull-out tabs and sturdy sliders, which toddlers may easily enjoy while developing motor skills. The turn-push-pull-slide features of this book are developmentally perfect for the age, and they are the true adventure in this sturdy book. It’s a shame the text and illustrations fail to deliver in terms of edutainment and pale in comparison to the interactive features.

Interactive features carry this unicorn board book for toddlers. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3729-9

Page Count: 8

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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