EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Fun format; bland text.

LOVEBLOCK

From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery.

FIVE BLACK CATS

A troop of cats traverse a spooky landscape as they make their way to a party hosted by ghosts.

Each double-page spread shows the felines’ encounters with the likes of an owl, jack-o’-lanterns or a bat. One or two of these creepy meetings may be too abstract for the youngest readers, as the cats hear eerie noises with no discernible source on the page. The text, which consists of one rhyming couplet per scene, mostly scans despite a couple of wobbles: “Five black cats get a bit of a scare / As the flip-flapping wings of a bat fill the air.” The sleek, slightly retro art, likely created using a computer, depicts the cats cavorting at night through a shadowy cityscape, the countryside and a haunted house; they may scare some toddlers and delight others. A brighter color palette would have given the project a friendlier, more universal appeal. Luckily, the well-lit, final party scene provides a playful conclusion.

For toddlers unafraid of typical Halloween imagery. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-611-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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