A generally pleasing primer on simple counting concepts for toddlers and preschoolers.

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FIVE HUNGRY PANDAS!

A COUNT AND CRUNCH BOOK

Barad-Cutler offers an eye-catching introduction to counting forward and backward.

The design of this novelty offering features a large window cut from its center, with five happy pandas peering in from the edges, their number and arrangement shifting as the pages are turned. Upon opening the book, one of the five pandas is moved over to the left-hand page, which reads: “1 hungry panda eats something yummy.” This leaves four pandas on the right-hand page, pictured above text that reads: “But 4 hungry pandas still need to fill their tummies!” This formula—pandas increasing on the left and decreasing on the right to the rhythm of short, snappy couplets referencing the number of pandas in each scene—zips along until the final spread. Here, the left-hand page shows all five pandas, as expected, reading “5 hungry pandas eat a yummy snack,” while the right-hand page shows only an empty window above the words, “Now 5 happy pandas are ready for their nap.” Aside from the problematic concluding rhyme, a bit of confusion is introduced when the final page mentions five pandas yet pictures none. The illustrations are cheery and bright and the black print, appropriately large and bold with the numerals printed in color.

A generally pleasing primer on simple counting concepts for toddlers and preschoolers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-53183-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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