From the Pull and Play series

When separated from its purported goals, the book is a fine addition to toddler shelves.

A pull-the-tab book about the trials and tribulations of bathtime.

On each page of this English translation of a French board book, an animal parent prepares their child to take a bath in a Western-style bathroom. On many pages, the child resists the bath, but with one pull of a sliding tab, readers see the parent-child couple overcoming whatever hesitation may have originally existed. While the book’s back cover claims that the text’s goal is to “reassure” children about taking a bath, the book itself is too simplistic to accomplish this goal on its own, presenting only one conflict per page and leaving it up to caregivers to help readers understand how the character’s fear, doubts, or stubbornness were allayed. Some of the strategies—such as making a hat out of bubbles to counteract fears of getting one’s hair washed—are useful for young families, while others—such as splashing water on each other to test the temperature—are unlikely to translate to real life. Furthermore, while the book alternates between mothers and fathers giving baths, the animals being bathed are all referred to using male pronouns, thereby limiting what could have been a wide array of gender diversity. For children, however, the tabs are fascinating and fun, and the colorful illustrations and simple dialogue-driven text lend themselves to an entertaining read-aloud.

When separated from its purported goals, the book is a fine addition to toddler shelves. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40801-282-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019


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


A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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