Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Part Are You My Mother? part The Odd Couple, all delightful.

PEEK-A-BRUCE

From the Mother Bruce series

A grumpy bear is a reluctant playmate to a persistent pack of baby goslings in an inescapable game of hide-and-seek.

Lovable, curmudgeonly Bruce, the scowling black bear of the Mother Bruce picture-book series, makes his second board-book appearance for younger readers, following 1 Grumpy Bruce (2018). The setup is simple: “The geese want to play with Bruce today. // Bruce does not want to play. / He’s going for a walk alone. Let’s join him!” The remainder of the book depicts Bruce’s unsuccessful attempts to elude his would-be sidekicks and his hilariously perturbed reactions when his diligent seekers find him at every turn. Bruce hides behind trees, tries to blend in with rocks, attempts to escape in a bubble bath, tries to slip away with a cup of his favorite warm beverage, and finally flees in desperation till he and his pursuers all collapse in exhaustion. The final caption reads, “Good night Bruce. Let’s play this game again tomorrow!” Refreshingly, Bruce’s grouchiness is not presented as a problem that needs to be fixed. Rather, Bruce plays the long-suffering straight man to the charmingly oblivious baby geese, whose unwavering affection for their disinclined companion is genuinely touching. The artwork, as in all the Mother Bruce books, is exquisite, in the same league as any of the great children’s classics: rich in detail, deft, smooth, elegant, and expressive.

Part Are You My Mother? part The Odd Couple, all delightful. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02857-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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