Feels like a party, and you'll want to jump in.


A rhyming picture book celebrates pool time.

An ensemble of nameless children enjoys a cheerful outing at a public pool. Using compact couplets, the text describes their activities—belly-flopping, gliding underwater, sunbathing on the deck, and more. It also captures the sights, sounds, and sensations of the experience, such as “FINGERS PRUNED” and the “SUN-KISSED GLOW” that follows a long swim. Illustrations showing kids having all sorts of fun in the rippling blue water, using animal floaties, and eating Popsicles invite interest in what, to some young readers, might be an unfamiliar place. A class sensibility seems to be at work since the artwork portrays a swimming facility with bountiful equipment and tropical deck plants—a far cry from most public pools. Excellent vocabulary-building opportunities present in the brief text (cannonball and marooned, to name a few), which also offers plenty of chances to act out scenes and have conversations about water safety. The colorful illustrations take pleasing turns with full-bleed double-page spreads, continuous narrative art, and spot-art close-ups. Adults are only present to pick up the kids at the end of the party, there are no squabbles, and no Band-Aids are needed. Children are depicted with a range of skin tones and hair colors, and some are taller than others; but all are able-bodied, which is a missed chance to help disabled kids see themselves in such a setting.

Feels like a party, and you'll want to jump in. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-41-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.


Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move.


An interactive board book promises a variety of experiences.

A book that gets kids up and moving sounds like a great idea. The half-circle cutout of the spine and large handle formed by another die cut on the right side are intriguing. Unfortunately, the rhyming instructions for using the book as an exercise prop are confusing. Even adults will find themselves puzzled when told to “paddle the floor,” or to “hang on the handles. Step over the book. / You're a turtle in its shell! Go peek out and look.” The busy pictures shift perspective according to each scenario presented but give few visual clues. For example, the only hint of a dinosaur on the page where readers are told to “put this book to your mouth and let out a roar” like a dinosaur are the teeth that line the edges of what is meant to be a gaping maw. It’s not always obvious whether the book is meant to be facing readers or turned away from them, adding another layer of confusion. Furthermore, many of the instructions run counter to how young children are typically taught to treat books, as when they are told to step on it and then waddle or to lift it with their feet. The relatively thin board pages and weak handles will soon be torn by normal handling; following the directions in the text will only hasten the destruction.

Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8733-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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